Famous Quotes & Sayings

James Thurber Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by James Thurber.

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James Thurber Quotes 1287506

Progress was all right. Only it went on too long. — James Thurber

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If you are a police dog, where's your badge? — James Thurber

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Humourists lead ... an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats. — James Thurber

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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

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It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy. — James Thurber

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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

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I don't believe the writer should know too much where he's going. If he does, he runs into old man blueprint-old man propaganda. — James Thurber

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

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Americans want to go to heaven without dying. — James Thurber

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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

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It did not take Man long-probably not more than a hundred centuries-to discover that all the animals except the dog were impossible around the house. One has but to spend a few days with an aardvark or llama, command a water buffalo to sit up and beg or try to housebreak a moose, to perceive how wisely Man set about his process of elimination and selection. — James Thurber

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These are the days of bootleg love. — James Thurber

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So much has already been written about everything that you can't find out anything about it. — James Thurber

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Looks can be deceiving; it's eating that's believing. — James Thurber

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We all know that the theater and every play that comes to Broadway have within themselves, like the human being, the seed of self-destruction and the certainty of death. The thing is to see how long the theater, the play, and the human being can last in spite of themselves. — James Thurber

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A husband should not insult his wife publicly, at parties. He should insult her in the privacy of the home. — James Thurber

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Two is company, four is a party, three is a crowd. One is a wanderer. — James Thurber

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

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I'll never know the right answer for sex and marriage, sense and mirage. — James Thurber

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Let the meek inherit the earth
they have it coming to them. — James Thurber

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

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

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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

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The Old Man ain't afraid of hell — James Thurber

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

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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

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Surely no other American institution is so bound around and tightened up by rules, strictures, adages, and superstitions as the Broadway theatre. — James Thurber

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Geep,' whuppled the parrot. — James Thurber

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I write humor the way a surgeon operates, because it is a livelihood, because I have a great urge to do it, because many interesting challenges are set up, and because I have the hope it may do some good. — James Thurber

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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

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The things we laugh at are awful while they are going on, but get funny when we look back. And other people laugh because they've been through it too. The closest thing to humor is tragedy. — James Thurber

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In an extensive reading of recent books by psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and inspirationalists, I have discovered that they all suffer from one or more of these expression-complexes: italicizing, capitalizing, exclamation-pointing, multiple-interrogating, and itemizing. These are all forms of what the psychos themselves would call, if they faced their condition frankly, Rhetorical-Over-Compensation. — James Thurber

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Most of us, out of a politeness made up of faint curiosity and profound resignation, go out to meet the smiling stranger with a gesture of surrender and a fixed grin, but White has always taken to the fire escape. He has avoided the Man in the Reception Room as he has avoided the interviewer, the photographer, the microphone, the rostrum, the literary tea, and the Stork Club. His life is his own. He is the only writer of prominence I know of who could walk through the Algonquin lobby or between the tables at Jack and Charlie's and be recognized only by his friends.

-on his friend E.B. White — James Thurber

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In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows there is nothing life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to bear. — James Thurber

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Half the places I have been to, never were. I make things up. Half the things I say are there cannot be found. When I was young I told a tale of buried gold, and men from leagues around dug in the woods. I dug myself."
"But why?"
"I thought the tale of treasure might be true."
"You said you made it up."
"I know I did, but then I didn't know I had. I forget things, too. — James Thurber

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One has but to observe a community of beavers at work in a stream to understand the loss in his sagacity, balance, co-operation, competence, and purpose which Man has suffered since he rose up on his hind legs. He began to chatter and he developed Reason, Thought, and Imagination, qualities which would get the smartest group of rabbits or orioles in the world into inextricable trouble overnight. — James Thurber

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Though statisticians in our time have never kept the score, Man wants a great deal here below and Woman even more. — James Thurber

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Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, 'How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?' and avoid 'How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?' — James Thurber

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Hens embarrass me; owls disturb me; if I am with an eagle I always pretend that I am not with an eagle; and so on down to swallows at twilight who scare the hell out of me. But pigeons have absolutely no effect on me. — James Thurber

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Well, I'm disenchanted, too. We're all disenchanted. — James Thurber

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The nation that complacently and fearfully allows its artists and writers to become suspected rather than respected is no longer regarded as a nation possessed with humor or depth. — James Thurber

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

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

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Something very much like nothing anyone had ever seen before came trotting down the stairs and crossed the room.
"What is that?" the Duke asked, palely.
"I don't know what it is," said Hark, "but it's the only one there ever was. — James Thurber

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Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility. — James Thurber

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

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Authors of light pieces have, nobody knows why, a genius for getting into minor difficulties: they walk into the wrong apartments, they drink furniture polish for stomach bitters, they drive their cars into the prize tulip beds of haughty neighbors, they playfully slap gangsters, mistaking them for old school friends. — James Thurber

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Women deserve to have more than 12 years between 28 and 40. — James Thurber

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I'm 65 and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I'd only be 48. That's the trouble with us. We number everything. Take women, for example. I think they deserve to have more than twelve years between the ages of 28 and 40. — James Thurber

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The laughter of man is more terrible than his tears, and takes more forms hollow, heartless, mirthless, maniacal. — James Thurber

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A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps. — James Thurber

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I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solutions, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm. — James Thurber

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Somebody has said that woman's place is in the wrong. That's fine. What the wrong needs is a woman's presence and a woman's touch. She is far better equipped than men to set it right. — James Thurber

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The noblest study of mankind is Man, says Man. — James Thurber

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

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

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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

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This is the posture of fortunes slave: one foot in the gravy, one foot in the grave. — James Thurber

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Laughter need not be cut out of anything, since it improves everything. — James Thurber

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

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He had as much fun in the water as any person I have known. You didn't have to throw a stick in the water to get him to go in. Of course, he would bring back a stick to you if you did throw one in. He would even have brought back a piano if you had thrown one in. — James Thurber

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It was Lisa, aged five, whose mother asked her to thank my wife for the peas we had sent them from our garden. 'I thought the peas were awful, I wish you and Mrs. Thurber were dead, and I hate trees,' said Lisa. — James Thurber

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Love is what you've been through with somebody — James Thurber

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Books can be burned," croaked Black.
"They have a way of rising from the ashes," said Andreus. — James Thurber

James Thurber Quotes 1038365

I never had a dog that showed a human fear of death. Death, to a dog, is the final unavoidable compulsion, the least ineluctable scent on a fearsome trail, but they like to face it alone, going out into the woods, among the leaves, if there are any leaves when their time comes, enduring without sentimental human distraction the Last Loneliness, which they are wise enough to know cannot be shared by anyone. — James Thurber

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When all things are equal, translucence in writing is more effective than transparency, just as glow is more revealing than glare. — James Thurber

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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

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If you should walk and wind and wander far enough on one of those afternoons in April when smoke goes down instead of up, and nearby things sound far away and far things near, you are more than likely to come at last to the enchanted forest that lies between the Moonstone Mines and Centaurs Mountain. You'll know the woods when you are still a long way off by virtue of a fragrance you can never quite forget and never quite remember. — James Thurber

James Thurber Quotes 1152443

Humor does not include sarcasm, invalid irony, sardonicism, innuendo, or any other form of cruelty. When these things are raised to a high point they can become wit, but unlike the French and the English, we have not been much good at wit since the days of Benjamin Franklin. — James Thurber

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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

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Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn't go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold. His hands were as cold as his smile and almost as cold as his heart. He wore gloves when he was asleep, and he wore gloves when he was awake, which made if difficult for him to pick up pins or coins or the kernels of nuts, or to tear the wings from nightingales. He was six feet four, and forty-six, and even colder than he thought he was. — James Thurber

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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

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

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

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The paths of glory at least lead to the Grave, but the paths of duty may not get you Anywhere. — James Thurber

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Quick, name some towns in New Jersey — James Thurber

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The unicorn is a mythical beast, — James Thurber

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Have you brought the moon to me?" she asked. "Not yet," said the Court Jester, "but I will get it for you right away. How big do you think it is?" "It is just a little smaller than my thumbnail," she said, "for when I hold my thumbnail up at the moon, it just covers it." "And how far away is it? asked the Court Jester. "It is not as high as the big tree outside my window," said the Princess, "for sometimes it gets caught in the top branches." It will be very easy to get the moon for you," said the Court Jester. "I will climb the tree tonight when it gets caught in the top branches and bring it to you." The he thought of something else. "What is the moon make of, Princess?" he asked. "Oh," she said, "it's made of gold, of course, silly. — James Thurber

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You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward. — James Thurber

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I have lived in the East for nearly thirty years now, but many of my books prove that I am never very far away from Ohio in my thoughts, and that the clocks that strike in my dreams are often the clocks of Columbus. — James Thurber

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

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The jewels of sorrow last forever — James Thurber

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American girls often marry someone they can't stand to spite someone they can. — James Thurber

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I myself have known some profoundly thoughtful dogs. — James Thurber

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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

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Writers of comedy have outlook, whereas writers of tragedy have, according to them, insight. — James Thurber

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

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He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes. — James Thurber

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It is hard for me to believe that Miss Groby ever saw any work of literature from far enough away to know what it meant. She was forever climbing up the margins of books and crawling between their lines for the little gold of phrase, making marks with a pencil. As Palamides hunted the Questing Beast, she hunted the Figure of Speech. She hunted it through the clangorous halls of Shakespeare and through the green forests of Scott. — James Thurber

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

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A burden in the bush is worth two on your hands. — James Thurber

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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

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Love is the strange bewilderment that overtakes one person on account of another person. — James Thurber

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The Princess Saralinda thought she saw, as people often think they see, on clear and windless days, the distant shining shores of Ever After. Your guess is quite as good as mine (there are a lot of things that shine) but I have always thought she did, and I will always think so. — James Thurber

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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

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Where most of us end up there is no knowing, but the hellbent get where they are going. — James Thurber

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I was seized by the stern hand of Compulsion, that dark, unreasonable Urge that impels women to clean house in the middle of the night. — James Thurber

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You'll never live to wed his niece. You'll only die to feed his geese. — James Thurber

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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

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I admire the person who can write it right off. Mencken once said that a person who thinks clearly can write well. But I don't think clearly
too many thoughts bump into one another. Trains of thought run on a track of the Central Nervous System
the New York Central Nervous System, to make it worse. — James Thurber