Authors, James Thurber (1894-1961)

James Thurber bookThe author, James Grover Thurber, wrote forty books in his lifetime with “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” being his most famous story.  It first appeared in the The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and is one of the most often anthologized short stories in American literature. Another one, “The Unicorn in the Garden” has gained attention for its humorous modern fable qualities and an interesting read.

“The Great Quillow”  by James Thurber is the one short story that I most enjoy reading over and over. My copy illustrated by Steven Kellogg is a 1994 reprint. It’s  about a clever toy maker in a village  confronted by a giant and how he outwits him. The ending to this tale is absolutely superb.   Now, that I’ve told you a little something about this story, you’ll just have to read it to truly enjoy the humor.

Thurber’s writing style illustrates humorous fiction and has many quotable quotes.  Here’s one I found on the Thurber House Organization site:

About the “Thurber Dog”

 The Thurber Dog“I had a friend who was on the telephone a great deal and while he talked was always flipping the pages of his memo pad and writing things down. I started to fill up the pad with drawings so he’d have to work to get to a clean page. I began to draw a bloodhound, but he was too big for the page… He had the head and body of a bloodhound; I gave him the short legs of a basset. When I first used him in my drawings, it was as a device for balance: when I had a couch and two people on one side of a picture and a standing lamp on the other, I’d put the dog in the space under the lamp for balance… I’ve always loved that dog. Although at first he was a device, I gradually worked him in as a sound creature in a crazy world.” _James Thurber, Source: Thurber House Organization

Written by Mary Gilmartin, February 27, 2013



Filed under Authors

6 responses to “Authors, James Thurber (1894-1961)

  1. Kathy Waller

    I love Thurber and Thurber dogs. Didn’t know about “The Great Quillow,” however, so I’ll have to find it.
    My favorites are “The Dog That Bit People,” “University Days,” and “The Night the Bed Fell.” As well as several others.

  2. I need to check this book. Sounds like a great adventure awaits for its reader.

  3. The picture of the Thurber dog reminds me of a new cartoon that a friend sent me. It’s on YouTube and so cute: Simon’s Cat. Here’s the link:

    • Thanks for posting the link. What a great cat illustrated cartoon by Simon Tofield, the English animator. And, now after watching it… I wonder how Simon’s Cat would get along with Thurber’s Dog.(My reply was posted weeks ago, but was slotted in the wrong place. Sorry for the delay)

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