James Thurber

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Thurber, James,

1894–1961, American humorist, b. Columbus, Ohio, studied at Ohio State Univ. After working on various newspapers he served on the staff of the New Yorker from 1927 to 1933 and was later a principal contributor to the magazine, considerably influencing its tone through his various drawings, stories, and anecdotes of his misadventures. Beneath the vague outlines of Thurber's cartoons and the wistful and ironic improbabilities of his writings—often dealing with incidents and characters from his Midwestern childhood or with the vexed relationship between the sexes—there is a deep psychological insight that sets him apart from most 20th-century humorists.

With E. B. WhiteWhite, E. B.
(Elwyn Brooks White), 1899–1985, American writer, b. Mt. Vernon, N.Y., grad. Cornell, 1921. A witty, satiric observer of contemporary society, White was a member of the staff of the early New Yorker;
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 he wrote and illustrated Is Sex Necessary? (1929), a satire of books on popular psychoanalysis. The Male Animal (1940), a play he wrote with Elliott Nugent, satirizes collegiate life. Collections of his drawings and writings include The Owl in the Attic (1931), The Seal in the Bedroom (1932), My Life and Hard Times (1933), Fables for Our Time (1940), The Thurber Carnival (1945), Thurber Country (1953), Thurber's Dogs (1955), The Wonderful O (1957), and Credos and Curios (1962). Among his other works are The Thirteen Clocks (1950), a children's book, and The Years with Ross (1959), a memoir of his days with the New Yorker. Thurber's later career was hampered by his growing blindness.

Bibliography

See H. Thurber and E. Weeks, ed., Selected Letters of James Thurber (1981) and H. Kinney and R. A. Thurber, ed., The Thurber Letters (2003); biographies by C. S. Holmes (1972), B. Bernstein (1975, repr. 1985), R. E. Long (1988), N. A. Grauer (1994), and H. Kinney (1995).

Thurber, James (Grover)

(1894–1961) author and cartoonist; born in Columbus, Ohio. One of America's great humorists, he wrote short stories and drew witty cartoons as a staff member of the New Yorker magazine from 1927 to 1933 and thereafter as a contributor until his death in 1961. He portrayed the preposterousness and frustrations of modern life in such collections as The Owl in the Attic and Other Perplexities (1931), The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments (1932), and Fables For Our Time (1940), which included his illustrations and such memorable stories as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. He was also the author of children's books, including The Thirteen Clocks (1950), and coauthored with Elliot Nugent the Broadway comedy, The Male Animal (1940). As a youngster he lost the sight in his left eye, and in his mid-forties he eventually lost the vision in his other eye, thereby writing as many of his stories while blind as when he enjoyed vision.