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James Thurber Quotes


An American humorist and cartoonist.
(1894 - 1961)

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

A drawing is always dragged down to the level of its caption.
 

A lady of 47 who has been married 27 years and has 6 children knows what love really is and once described it for me like this: "Love is what you've been through with somebody."
[Love]
 

A pinch of probability is worth a pound of perhaps.
 

A word to the wise is not sufficient if it doesn't make any sense.
 

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

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

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

But those rare souls whose spirit gets magically into the hearts of men, leave behind them something more real and warmly personal than bodily presence, an ineffable and eternal thing. It is everlasting life touching us as something more than a vague, recondite concept. The sound of a great name dies like an echo; the splendor of fame fades into nothing; but the grace of a fine spirit pervades the places through which it has passed, like the haunting loveliness of mignonette.
 

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

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.
 

Discussion in America means dissent.
[America]
 

Don't count your boobies until they are hatched.
 

Don't get it right, just get it written.
 

Don't let that chip on your shoulder be your only reason for walking erect.
 

Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead.
[Advice]
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Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling 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?"
 

Every time is a time for comedy in a world of tension that would languish without it. But I cannot confine myself to lightness in a period of human life that demands light ... We all know that, as the old adage has it, "It is later than you think." ..., but I also say occasionally: "It is lighter than you think." In this light let's not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
 

From now on, I think it is safe to predict, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party will ever nominate for President a candidate without good looks, stage presence, theatrical delivery, and a sense of timing.
 

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


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