James Thurber


James Thurber Quotes

  • ''Somebody once said that I am incapable of drawing a man, but that I draw abstract things like despair, disillusion, despondency, sorrow, lapse of memory, exile, and that these things are sometimes in a shape that might be called Man or Woman.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Interview with Jack Sher in Detroit Free Press (February 25, 1940).
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  • ''From now on, I think it is safe to predict, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party will ever nominate for President a candidate without good looks, stage presence, theatrical delivery, and a sense of timing.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. James Thurber Collecting Himself (1989). From an unpublished manuscript, dated March 20, 1961, said of the Kennedy-Nixon TV debates.
  • ''My drawings have been described as pre-intentionalist, meaning that they were finished before the ideas for them had occurred to me. I shall not argue the point.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Life (New York, March 14, 1960).
  • ''I always begin at the left with the opening word of the sentence and read toward the right and I recommend this method.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. repr. in New York Times Book Review (Dec. 4, 1988). Memo to New Yorker (1959). On editors' reading habits.
  • ''I consider that that "that" that worries us so much should be forgotten. Rats desert a sinking ship. Thats infest a sinking magazine.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. memo to New Yorker (1959), published in New York Times Book Review (Dec. 4, 1988).
  • ''You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Moral of "The Owl Who Was God," Fables for Our Time (1940).
  • ''A drawing is always dragged down to the level of its caption.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. New Yorker (Aug. 2, 1930).
  • ''There is ... no glamor at banquets—I mean the large formal banquets of big associations and societies. There is only a kind of dignified confusion that gradually unhinges the mind.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. New Yorker (March 29, 1930).
  • ''The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself, but in so doing, he identifies himself with people—that is, people everywhere, not for the purpose of taking them apart, but simply revealing their true nature.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Transcript of Ed Murrow's television show Small World, CBS-TV (March 25, 1959). New York Post.
  • ''If a playwright tried to see eye to eye with everybody, he would get the worst case of strabismus since Hannibal lost an eye trying to count his nineteen elephants during a snowstorm while crossing the Alps.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. New York Times (Feb. 21, 1960).

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