James Thurber: Writings & Drawings (including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)

Library of America
6

James Thurber, whimsical fantasist and deadpan chronicler of everyday absurdities, brought American humor into the 20th century. His comic persona, a modern citydweller whose zaniest flights of free association are tinged with anxiety, remains hilarious, subtly disturbing, and instantly recognizable. Here, in over 1000 pages, editor Garrison Keillor presents the best and most extensive collection ever assembled. Over 100 pieces include “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Catbird Seat,” the brilliantly satirical Fables for Our Time, the classic My Life and Hard Times, and the best of The Owl in the Attic, Let Your Mind Alone!, My World—And Welcome to It, and the other famous books. Plus 500 wonderful drawings, including The Seal in the Bedroom and celebrated sequences like “The Masculine Approach” and “The War Between Men and Women.” Rounding out the volume is a selection from The Years with Ross, a memoir of the New Yorker publisher, and a number of wonderful early pieces never collected by Thurber.
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About the author

James Thurber (1894-1961) was one of the foremost American humorists of the 20th century.

Garrison Keillor is the creator of A Prairie Home Companion, which he hosted for 42 years, and the author of several books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, and Daddy’s Girl.
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Reviews

4.7
6 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Library of America
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Published on
Oct 1, 1996
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Pages
1024
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ISBN
9781598533125
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Absurdist
Fiction / Humorous / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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James Thurber
Great American humorist James Thurber’s beloved, madcap, and eerily timely fairy tale about an island society robbed of the wonders of the letter O—in a stunning Deluxe Edition featuring flaps, deckle-edged paper, and the original, full-color illustrations
 
Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island, and Black has a ship to get there. So the two bad men team up and sail off on Black’s vessel, the Aeiu. The name, Black explains, is all the vowels except for O—which he hates since his mother got wedged in a porthole: They couldn’t pull her in, so they had to push her out. Black and Littlejack arrive at the port and demand the treasure. No one knows anything about it, so they have their henchmen ransack the place—to no avail. But Black has a better idea: He will take over the island and purge it of O. (“I'll issue an edict!”)
 
The harsh limits of a life sans O (where shoe is she and woe is we) and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their overbearing interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves (Oh yes—and get back their O’s)—these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber’s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language—and lose. It is a tour de force of wordplay that will delight fans of Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear, and Roald Dahl, and a timely reminder of how people can band together in the name of freedom to overthrow a tyrant.
 
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
James Thurber
A giant of American humor makes his Penguin Classics debut with “probably the best book in the world” (Neil Gaiman, from the Introduction), in a stunning Deluxe Edition featuring the original, full-color illustrations
 
The hands of all thirteen clocks stand still in the gloomy castle on a lonely hill where a wicked Duke lives with his niece, the beautiful Princess Saralinda. The Duke fancies he has frozen time, for he is afraid that one day a Prince may come and win away the hand of the Princess—the only warm hand in the castle. To thwart that fate, he sets impossible tasks for Saralinda’s suitors. But when the bold Prince Zorn of Zorna arrives, disguised as a wandering minstrel, and helped by the enigmatic Golux, the cold Duke may at last have met his match.

Since it was first published in 1950, James Thurber’s sublimely whimsical fairy tale of love forestalled but ultimately fulfilled has delighted readers of all ages. It is published here with Marc Simont’s enchanting, full-color illustrations from the first edition.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
E. B. White
William Shawn once called The Talk of the Town the soul of the magazine. The section began in the first issue, in 1925. But it wasn't until a couple of years later, when E. B. White and James Thurber arrived, that the Talk of the Town story became what it is today: a precise piece of journalism that always gets the story and has a little fun along the way.

The Fun of It is the first anthology of Talk pieces that spans the magazine's life. Edited by Lillian Ross, the longtime Talk reporter and New Yorker staff writer, the book brings together pieces by the section's most original writers. Only in a collection of Talk stories will you find E. B. White visiting a potter's field; James Thurber following Gertrude Stein at Brentano's; Geoffrey Hellman with Cole Porter at the Waldorf Towers; A. J. Liebling on a book tour with Albert Camus; Maeve Brennan ventriloquizing the long-winded lady; John Updike navigating the passageways of midtown; Calvin Trillin marching on Washington in 1963; Jacqueline Onassis chatting with Cornell Capa; Ian Frazier at the Monster Truck and Mud Bog Fall Nationals; John McPhee in virgin forest; Mark Singer with sixth-graders adopting Hudson River striped bass; Adam Gopnik in Flatbush visiting the ìgrandest theatre devoted exclusively to the movies; Hendrik Hertzberg pinning down a Sulzberger on how the Times got colorized; George Plimpton on the tennis court with Boris Yeltsin; and Lillian Ross reporting good little stories for more than forty-five years. They and dozens of other Talk contributors provide an entertaining tour of the most famous section of the most famous magazine in the world.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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