James Thurber

James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 – November 2, 1961) was an American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit. He was best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in The New Yorker and collected in his numerous books.

Thurber was one of the most popular humorists of his time and celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people. His works have frequently been adapted into films, including The Male Animal (1942), The Battle of the Sexes (1959, based on Thurber’s “The Catbird Seat”), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (adapted twice, in 1947 and in 2013).

Books in order of publication:


  • Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel the Way You Do, (1929 with E. B. White), 75th anniv. edition (2004) with foreword by John Updike
  • The Owl in the Attic and Other Perplexities, 1931
  • The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments, 1932
  • My Life and Hard Times, 1933
  • The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze, 1935
  • Let Your Mind Alone! and Other More Or Less Inspirational Pieces, 1937
  • The Last Flower, 1939,
  • Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated, 1940
  • My World—And Welcome to It, 1942
  • Men, Women and Dogs, 1943
  • The Thurber Carnival (anthology), 1945, (Modern Library Edition)
  • The Beast in Me and Other Animals, 1948
  • The Thurber Album, 1952
  • Thurber Country, 1953
  • Thurber’s Dogs, 1955
  • Further Fables for Our Time, 1956
  • Alarms and Diversions (anthology), 1957
  • The Years with Ross, 1959
  • Lanterns and Lances, 1961

Children’s books

  • Many Moons, 1943 (later condensed as The Princess Who Wanted The Moon)
  • The Great Quillow, 1944
  • The White Deer, 1945
  • The 13 Clocks, 1950
  • The Wonderful O, 1957


  • The Male Animal, 1940 (with Elliott Nugent)
  • A Thurber Carnival, 1960
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