PRP Resources

Penn Reading Project 2018: The Year of Why

These resources, presented by the Penn Libraries (, provide background information and context for The Bridge of San Luis Rey.


Biographical Sources

American National Biography

Search in ANB for Thornton Wilder, the author of The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The first result is a relatively short biographical overview of Wilder’s life and career. The overview was written by Linda Simon, a Wilder scholar and professor emerita at Skidmore College.

Thornton Wilder Biographies in Franklin

Search the Franklin catalog for subject heading keywords: thornton wilder biography.


The Search for Meaning

Oxford Bibliographies: Philosophy and Psychology

Oxford Bibliographies publishes annotated bibliographies on various subjects, each accompanied by an introduction written by area scholars. The “Meaning of Life” entry in the Philosophy section and the “Meaning in Life” entry in the Psychology section compiles hundreds of articles and book-length examinations of this fundamental question. Once in Oxford Bibliographies, search for your desired entry by title.

Franklin Search: Philosophy, Meaning

Franklin Catalog results for the subject heading “Meaning (Philosophy)”.

University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center

A famed center at Penn dedicated to studying what it takes to thrive and lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. Learn about books from faculty authors, and browse research findings on topics from grit and resilience to world well-being. Also connected to the Wellness at Penn website (


Cultural Context: 18th-century Peru

Historical Abstracts

A database indexing journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, and books on world history from 1415 to the present. Search for “Peru” and “18th century” as subject terms, and, if needed, limit by language in the results.

Oxford Bibliographies: Latin American Studies

The annotated bibliography on Colonial Peru is broken down by General Works, Conquest and Settlement Studies, Ethnohistory, examination of the Viceregal administrations, and more. Once in Oxford Bibliographies, search for your desired entry by title.

Franklin Search: Peru, History, Colonial

This search looks for “Peru” and “History” as subject keywords, and either “18th century” or “colonial” as other keywords. Over 275 print and ebooks on Peru’s colonial history.


Franciscans in South America

ATLA Religion Database

Database of analysis and commentary on global religions and religious traditions. Search for “Franciscans” and “south America” OR “Peru” to see a list of articles, book chapters, and books written about the Franciscan presence in colonial South America.

Franklin Search: Franciscans, Peru, South America

This search looks for “Franciscans” and either “Peru” or “South America” as other keywords. About 40 print and ebooks on the presence of Franciscan communities in Peru.

The Sydney Keil Collection from the Kislak Center for Special Collections

Religious pamphlets, broadsides, and political literature from 17th to 19th-century Mexico and South America. Most of the material is in Spanish. All members of the Penn community, as well as members of the public, are welcome to access material from Penn Libraries’ special collections.


Literary Criticism and Reception

MLA International Bibliography

Database of literary criticism. Indexes articles, book chapters, dissertations, and books of commentary on literary works. Search for “bridge of san luis rey” to find analysis of this work in particular.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

How did readers and critics react to The Bridge of San Luis Rey when it was first released in 1927? Search for “bridge of san luis rey” and limit results to 1927-1928.


Other Literary Resources: The Bridge of San Luis Rey


Reviews of The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Other Resources

Lilli Palmer interviews Thornton Wilder in 1952