Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes by James Thurber on inspiration, memory, humor, emotion, dichotomy, time, creativity, artists and animals.

90 Quotes By James Thurber, The Renowned American Humorist And Cartoonist

Quick Facts

Famous As: Cartoonist, Author, Journalist & Playwright

Born On: December 8, 1894

Died On: November 2, 1961

Born In: Columbus

Died At Age: 66

James Grover Thurber was an American journalist, author, cartoonist, playwright and humorist. Thurber went to The Ohio State University but did not complete his degree due to problems with his eyesight and after working as a government clerk for some time, he joined ‘The Columbus Dispatch’ as a journalist. His career took an upward turn when he moved to New York in 1925 and he never looked back since then. He joined ‘The New Yorker’ magazine soon after as an editor and became the cartoonist at the publication in 1930. He was a prolific short story writer for the New Yorker and was also famous for his pithy cartoons directed towards the current affairs of that time. Some of his most well-known stories include ‘The Catbird Seat’, ‘My Life and Hard Times’, ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ and ‘My World and Welcome to It’ among others. He had also written the well-known play ‘The Male Animal’ that was staged at Broadway and was later on turned into a film. Thurber was a multi-faceted talent and at the same time he had a sharp wit that could only be matched by few. Whatever he has said or written has become quite famous as his quotes and thoughts and is quoted extensively. He possessed the skill of presenting his thoughts on most serious and sensitive issues in a witty and humorous way. We have excerpted his most famous quotes from his writings, books, essays and cartoons. Here is a collection of James Thurber’s thoughts, quotations and sayings.
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Two is company, four is a party, three is a crowd. One is a wanderer.

James Thurber

Beautiful things don't ask for attention.

James Thurber

Walter Mitty: To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

James Thurber

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

James Thurber

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

James Thurber

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness.

James Thurber

Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?

James Thurber

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

James Thurber

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

James Thurber

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.

James Thurber

Sean O'Connell: Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

James Thurber

You are all a lost generation," Gertrude Stein said to Hemingway. We weren't lost. We knew where we were, all right, but we wouldn't go home. Ours was the generation that stayed up all night.

James Thurber

She wasn't much to look at but she was something to think about.

James Thurber

Love is what you've been through with somebody

James Thurber

Boys are beyond the range of anybody's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years.

James Thurber

Don't get it right, get it written.

James Thurber

I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.

James Thurber

The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.

James Thurber

I think that maybe if women and children were in charge we would get somewhere.

James Thurber

There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception.

James Thurber

Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?

James Thurber

Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long.

James Thurber

Remember laughter. You'll need it even in the blessed isles of Ever After.

James Thurber

One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.

James Thurber

The most dangerous food is wedding cake.

James Thurber

You can fool too many people, too much of the time.

James Thurber

Art – the one achievement of man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised

James Thurber

I can feel a thing I cannot touch and touch a thing I cannot feel. The first is sad and sorry, the second is your heart.

James Thurber

Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy, wealthy, and dead.

James Thurber

I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance - a sharp, vindictive glance.

James Thurber

For one thing, she pronounced flowers 'flars' and I couldn't let it slide.

James Thurber

These are the days of bootleg love.

James Thurber

Things have dropped from me. I have outlived certain desires; I have lost friends, some by death... others through sheer inability to cross the street.

James Thurber

We all have faults, mine is being wicked.

James Thurber

Man has gone long enough, or even too long, without being man enough to face the simple truth that the trouble with man is man.

James Thurber

There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

James Thurber

Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.

James Thurber

All men kill the thing they hate, too, unless, of course, it kills them first.

James Thurber

Mutual suspicions of mental inadequacy are common during the first year of any marriage.

James Thurber

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

The past is an old armchair in the attic, the present an ominous ticking sound, and the future is anybody’s guess.

James Thurber

I hate women because they always remember where things are.

James Thurber

He who hesitates is sometimes saved.

James Thurber

With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.

James Thurber

The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.

James Thurber

Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.

James Thurber

Quick, name some towns in New Jersey

James Thurber

Sophistication might be described as the ability to cope gracefully with a situation involving the presence of a formidable menace to one's poise and prestige...

James Thurber

You mere device," he gnarled. "You platitude! Your Gollux ex machina!

James Thurber

I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.

James Thurber

It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.

James Thurber

What would you do without me? Say 'nothing.'" "Nothing," said the Prince. "Good. Then you're helpless and I'll help you.

James Thurber

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

James Thurber

You might as well fall on your face as lean over too far backwards

James Thurber

There is something about a poet which leads us to believe that he died, in many cases, as long as 20 years before his birth.

James Thurber

It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.

James Thurber

To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.

James Thurber

Well, I'm disenchanted, too. We're all disenchanted.

James Thurber

Last night I dreamed of a small consolation enjoyed only by the blind: Nobody knows the trouble I’ve not seen.

James Thurber

Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness.

James Thurber

A drawing is always dragged down to the level of its caption. A word to the wise is not sufficient if it doesn't make sense.

James Thurber

It is all but impossible to sit quietly by when someone is throwing salad plates.

James Thurber

Comedy has to be done en clair. You can’t blunt the edge of wit or the point of satire with obscurity. Try to imagine a famous witty saying that is not immediately clear.

James Thurber

In other countries, art and literature are left to a lot of shabby bums living in attics and feeding on booze and spaghetti.

James Thurber

Time lies frozen there. It's always Then. It's never Now.

James Thurber

Lately, I have been wondering if there is time left for daydreaming in this 21st-century world of constant communication.

James Thurber

I am the Golux, the only Golux in the world and not a mere device

James Thurber

I love the idea of there being two sexes, don't you?

James Thurber

You have made the moon," The Jester said. "That is the moon.

James Thurber

The noblest study of mankind is Man, says Man.

James Thurber

But what is all this fear of and opposition to Oblivion? What is the matter with the soft Darkness, the Dreamless Sleep?

James Thurber

I don't remember any blue poodles.

James Thurber

Hundreds of hysterical persons must confuse these phenomena with messages from the beyond and take their glory to the bishop rather than the eye doctor.

James Thurber

At forty my faculties may have closed up like flowers at evening, leaving me unable to write my memoirs with a fitting and discreet inaccuracy, or, having written them, unable to carry them to the publisher.

James Thurber

Her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house.

James Thurber

There was a mist of moss to ride through and a storm of glass.

James Thurber

A dehoy who was terribly hobble, Cast only stones that were cobble And bats that were ding, From a shot that was sling, But never hit inks that were bobble.

James Thurber

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why

James Thurber

Man has always assumed that his is the highest form of life in the universe. There is, of course, nothing at all with which to sustain this view.

James Thurber

To call such persons "humorists", a loose-fitting and ugly word, is to miss the nature of their dilemma and the dilemma of their nature.

James Thurber

It’s forty kilometers through hell, sir,” said the sergeant. Mitty finished one last brandy. “After all,” he said softly, “what isn’t?

James Thurber

Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.

James Thurber

There was an old coddle so molly, He talked in a glot that was poly, His gaws were so gew That his laps became dew, And he ate only pops that were lolly.

James Thurber

Man is troubled by what might be called the Dog Wish, a strange and involved compulsion to be as happy and carefree as a dog.

James Thurber

Books can be burned,” croaked Black. “They have a way of rising from the ashes,” said Andreus.

James Thurber

Against the may, the could be, and the should, folly 'tis to balance doubt or hope.

James Thurber

The oyster is a blob of glup, but a woman is a woman.

James Thurber

On his misfit globe he has outlasted the mammoth and the pterodactyl, but he has never got the upper hand of bacteria and the insects.

James Thurber