Q: Can someone in the Thornton Wilder Society please provide me with the source of the following well-known Wilder quote? “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
A: Chrysis says these words in The Woman of Andros in the scene when she tells her banquet guests the story of the hero and the King of the Dead: “Suddenly the hero saw that the living too are dead and that we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasure; for our hearts are not strong enough to love every moment.”
This scene, which foreshadows Emily’s wish to return to earth in Our Town, may be found on p. 149 of the HarperCollins reprint of The Woman of Andros.
The Society would like to thank our dearly missed friend, Penelope Niven, for contributing this answer to Wilder Queries. Please visit our Penelope Niven Remembered webpage for an overview of her many accomplishments.