James Thurber


James Thurber Quotes

  • ''When all things are equal, translucence in writing is more effective than transparency, just as glow is more revealing than glare.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Memo to New Yorker (1959). New York Times Book Review (Dec. 4, 1988).
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  • ''The nation that complacently and fearfully allows its artists and writers to become suspected rather than respected is no longer regarded as a nation possessed with humor in depth.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. New York Times Magazine (Dec. 7, 1958). In response to the question of whether humor was in decline in the United States.
  • ''The laughter of man is more terrible than his tears, and takes more forms—hollow, heartless, mirthless, maniacal.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. New York Times Magazine (December 7, 1958).
  • ''My opposition [to interviews] lies in the fact that offhand answers have little value or grace of expression, and that such oral give and take helps to perpetuate the decline of the English language.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Quoted in Henry Brandon, As We Are (1961). Letter to Henry Brandon following a lengthy interview with him.
  • ''With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Quoted in New York Post (June 30, 1955).
  • ''The difference between our decadence and the Russians' is that while theirs is brutal, ours is apathetic.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. Quoted in Observer (London, February 5, 1961).
  • ''One great advantage which poetry has over prose—one sense in which, we might even say, it is considerably more beautiful—is that it fills up space approximately three times as rapidly.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. "The Book-End," Collecting Himself: James Thurber on Writing and Writers, Humor and Himself, Harper (1989).
  • ''It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. "The Courtship of Arthur and Al," Fables for our Time (1940).
  • ''The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only limitations those of libel.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. "The Duchess and the Bugs," Lanterns and Lances (1961).
  • ''Discussion in America means dissent.''
    James Thurber (1894-1961), U.S. humorist, illustrator. "The Duchess and the Bugs," Lanterns and Lances (1961).

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