Thursday, 4 November 2010

James Grover Thurber.


James Thurber 1894 - 1961
"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".

"Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation". 

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

"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself, but in so doing, he identifies himself with people - that is, people everywhere, not for the purpose of taking them apart, but simply revealing their true nature". 

James Thurber was an author, cartoonist and celebrated wit, born in Columbus, Ohio, on December 8th 1894. 

As a child he lost an eye while playing a game of William Tell with his brother, William. This injury later caused him to be almost entirely blind. Unable to participate in sports, he instead developed a creative imagination, which he shared in his writings and drawings.

A neurologist suggested that his imagination may be partly explained by 'Charles Bonnet Syndrome', which causes complex visual hallucinations in otherwise mentally healthy people who have suffered a significant level of visual loss.

Having worked hard in the 1920's to establish himself as a professional writer, Thurber became equally well known for his simple, surrealistic drawings and cartoons. His failing eyesight later required him to draw them on unusually large sheets of paper using a thick black crayon, but regardless of his methods they became as notable as his writings; they possessed an eerie, wobbly feel that seemed to mirror his idiosyncratic view on life.

Many of his short stories are humorous fictional memoirs from his life, but he was also known to write much darker material involving madness and murder. In addition to his fictional writing, Thurber wrote over 75 fables, which were satirical in nature - the morals serving more as punchlines than advice to the reader.

He also wrote numerous humorous essays, biographical memoirs, fairytales, and pieces of investigative journalism, plus a hit Broadway comic drama.

He died in 1961, at the age of 66 due to complications from pneumonia, which followed upon a stroke suffered at his home. His last words, according to his 2nd wife, Helen, were: "God bless... God damn."


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