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The Cabala and The Woman of Andros: Two Novels

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  52 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Featuring an illuminating new foreword by Penelope Niven and a revealing afterword by Tappan Wilder, this reissue of two early books by Thornton Wilder reintroduces the reader to the author's first novel, The Cabala, and to The Woman of Andros, one of the inspirations for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town.

A young American student spends a year in the exotic world of
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 2nd 2007 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published 1968)
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Sep 05, 2009 Tony rated it it was ok
Wilder, Thornton. THE CABALA. (1926). **. I tried to read this novel, Wilder’s first, about thirty years ago. I couldn’t get through it. this time I got through it, but found that I still didn’t like it. It was based on Wilder’s experiences in Rome at the American Academy. It includes many of his experiences during his archaeological studies in the city in the period 1920-1921. The structure of the novel is built around an around American writer, Samuele, and his introduction and subsequent rela ...more
Nov 18, 2009 Christina rated it did not like it
I've long wanted to read "The Cabala" because its characters are based on expatriates in Rome in 1920, when Thornton Wilder was a visiting student in archaeology at the American Academy in Rome. I know a little about that period but so far the only character I've been able to identify is John Keats, a hundred years too late! This was Wilder's first novel but I really wonder if anyone would publish it today, when being a Yale alumnus is less crucial to literary success. I could hardly finish the ...more
J. Lee Graham
Mar 06, 2013 J. Lee Graham rated it really liked it
It's one of Wilder's early novels, and it does come across pompous and it feels like Wilder was trying to impress us with his wit (lots of use of passive voice in this work) and he gets lost in trying to be clever. But, it does ring true about Wilder himself in the undercurrent and unstated bits if you know where to look. A writer can never hide himself entirely in his work, and bits of Wilder's own sexual orientation pop up in the 'homoerotic' moments.
If you're a Wilder fan, it's a must read:
John O'Brien
Aug 24, 2012 John O'Brien rated it really liked it
The Woman of Andros: Being a huge fan of Wilder, I had never found this more obscure novella until this year. Set in ancient Greece, like much of Wilder’s work, there is an exquisite tenderness for his characters, as they illustrate profound existential questions by their lives.

The Cabala: One of the first of Wilder's that I read, it sold me by his mesmerizing writing. The Great Gatsby but in Rome among the old aristocracy, nouveau riche, and ex-pat Americans.
Lory Hess
Apr 01, 2013 Lory Hess rated it liked it
Both short early novels are inevitably compared to the bestselling The Bridge of San Luis Rey (which was published in between the two). The Cabala reads like a study for the Bridge, with similar episodic character sketches but less emotional impact. The Woman of Andros is beautifully written but also somehow emotionally distant. I'm glad I read both but not sure I would read them again.
Marvin chester
Jan 18, 2013 Marvin chester rated it it was amazing
Allegorical and compelling tales. About Italian aristocracy, a cabal; not jewish mysticism, Cabala. Andros deeply moving. 11 pages into piece have story of hero granted, on dieing, to be returned to earth one day. Finds people not conscious of the treasure of living. Other allegories in both 'books'.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Dec 16, 2009 Charles Dee Mitchell rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-fiction
His first fiction effort is hardly a novel. A series of character studies of early 20th century Roman aristocracy and the expat community. Slight, well-written, and enjoyable.
Feb 12, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Really I give The Cabala 5 stars and The Woman of Andros 3.
Sep 19, 2012 Kenneth rated it it was ok
Only read The Woman Of Andros as that was the version I had.
Melissa Berube
I'm halfway through the Woman. Pretty good stuff.
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Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.

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