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.


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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Aspiring writers keen to weave a little humour Into their work would do well to read James Thurber, then, and to remember the three Ts: choose words that succinctly establish a comic Tone, Trim your narrative of superfluities that will take the edge off your wit, and Time your comic moments so that-llke those of the master himself-they have the power to surprise and amuse.
James Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, agrees.
Those who came back did so after coming to an acceptance of what James Thurber said: Do not look back in anger nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.
The authors of these 120 recommended literary works range from Charlotte Bronte, Sophocles, Thomas Hardy, and Benjamin Franklin, to Joseph Conrad, Evelyn Waugh, James Thurber, and Voltaire.
The writer is, of course, the wondrous man, James Thurber, and the book is You Can Look It Up.
But, you remember the old James Thurber maxim (from the Peace-like Mongoose): "Ashes to ashes/Dust to dust/If the enemy doesn't get you/Your own folks must.
Levine's show borrowed its title, "Men, Women and Dogs," from that of a 1943 anthology of cartoons by James Thurber.
Each of these modes is illustrated by an example from the recent past, and the authors include some well-known writers, such as Truman Capote and James Thurber, and some more current writers, such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Ann Beattie.
James Thurber would put his inspired essays through eight to 10 rewrites.
They all want to be in it,'' added James Thurber, a congressional scholar at American University.
James Thurber has been unlucky in his biographers, who have tended to like him overmuch or not or all.