The Daily Bug

The Thurber Carnival

By: palmettobug53, 3:25 AM GMT on January 27, 2008


“James Thurber was born on a night of wild portent and high wind in the year 1894, at 147 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, Ohio. The house, which is still standing, bears no tablet or plaque of any description, and is never pointed out to visitors. Once Thurber’s mother, walking past the place with an old lady from Fostoria Ohio, said to her, ‘My son James was born in that house,’ to which the old lady, who was extremely deaf, replied, ‘Why, on the Thursday morning train, unless my sister is worse.’ Mrs. Thurber let it go at that.”

Excerpt from the Preface of The Thurber Carnival, by James Thurber

Hubby stared at me in disbelief. I was collapsed in my recliner laughing so hard, I had tears running down my face.

"What in the world is the matter with you?", he asked.

I tried to reply. I really did.

"'s.... ah, ah, oh! Buhwaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha!"

And off I went again! Hiccupping, coughing, spluttering and howling.....

Hubby left the room, shaking his head.

What was I doing?

Reading James Thurber's "More Alarms at Night."

It's wasn't like I'd never read the thing before. I have a copy of his collection of stories, The Thurber Carnival. I found it at a used book store some years ago and snatched it up, as I love, absolutely love, Thurber. I've read it and re-read it and each and every time, his imagery has me rolling on the floor. The improbable situations. The weird collection of family and friends. His trials and tribulations with anything mechanical. The Thurber dogs. Thurber didn't have much use for cats.

He illustrated all of his books, as far as I know. Truly strange looking drawings.

James Grover Thurber was born December 8, 1894, in Columbus, Ohio, the setting for many of his stories. He is best known for his contributions to The New Yorker magazine. Even if you haven't read Thurber, you'd probably be familar with some of his stories, particularily The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The movie starring Danny Kaye was loosely based on Thurber's story. Or with the 1969/1970 TV series, My World and Welcome To It, starring William Windom.

Thurber was partially blinded as a child. (He and his brother were playing with bows and arrows) He suffered from alcoholism and depression off and on for most of his adult life. By the time of his death from complications from a stroke on November 2, 1961, he was completely blind.

I don't know why it is, that some of the best writers have rather troubled lives. Maybe it has something to do with genius. If you have never read Thurber, don't wait another minute. And have plenty of tissues handy. You're going to need them, while you're rolling on the floor!

The Thurber House

Interview with James Thurber

The Man Who Liked Dogs

Thurber Quotes

The Night The Ghost Got In This is a detailed summary of the story. Sorry, I could not find the story itself, online.

The Unicorn in the Garden

And one of my personal favorites:

The Night the Bed Fell

Just realized that I had two links to the same place. I meant to put this one up:

The Thurber Connection This was obviously written after his death. It appears to be a series of articles. Rather long, but interesting.

Updated: 4:14 AM GMT on January 27, 2008


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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WU member since Oct. 2005. I enjoy reading, crafts, crosswords, puttering in the yard, old movies and hanging out with my friends on WU.

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