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The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber
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The Thurber Carnival (1945)

by James Thurber

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I find it difficult to categorize the genre which will fully describe The Thurber Carnival. It is humor with a generous helping of autobiography sprinkled with cartoons. There's short stories such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which I mentioned previously. There are also twists on fairytales (of which you know I'm overly fond). It was obvious from the preface that this was going to be an interesting read because Thurber wrote the preface himself in the third person. O_O A contemporary of E.B. White (remember Charlotte's Web), Thurber was a well-known essayist, humorist, and cartoonist of his time (early to mid 20th century) and was one of the leading voices of The New Yorker. He's considered the Mark Twain of the 20th century in fact and I'm sad to say I had never heard his name before I had watched the Ben Stiller film (thanks, Hollywood!). I found the anthology to be quite good but I do caution you all to remember the time it was written in as it's definitely not politically correct (sexism, racism, etc). If you're looking for a quick, fun read that features some rather interesting cartoons this is probably the book for you. ( )
  AliceaP | Jul 16, 2015 |
2
  kutheatre | Jun 7, 2015 |
Plucked a 1949 edition from my public library shelves. Plain-spoken humor, and pleasantly endearing these many years later. Most of the pieces are what I'd call vignettes, many are fiction but several appear to be true stories of his life. Reminds me somewhat of E.B. White, which is not surprising as they were contemporaries. Thurber grew up in small- town Ohio (Columbus wasn't so big in the early 1900s), is a keen observer and natural storyteller. Of course, his drawings are included in this eponymous sort-of collection. ( )
  JamesMScott | May 9, 2015 |
A large miscellaneous collection of Thurber's writings and drawings. On the whiole I prefer the drawings. When young my favorite was the series "War Between Men and Women" though nowadays it would probably be considered sexist, since the men win. ( )
  antiquary | Nov 12, 2013 |
We read Walter Mitty in class in school, and I was so entertained I went to the library to find this collection of his work. My favourite is the Macbeth Murder Mystery. ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | Sep 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thurber, Jamesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bruning, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For
HAROLD ROSS
with increasing admiration,
wonder, and affection
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I have not actually known Thurber for fifty years, since he was only forty-nine on his last birthday, but the publishers of this volume felt "fifty" would sound more effective than "forty-nine" in the title of an introduction to so large a book, a point which I was too tired to argue about.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060932872, Paperback)

After the chuckles and amidst the chortles, the first-time reader of The Thurber Carnival is bound to utter a discreetly voiced "Huh?" Like Cracker Jacks, there are surprises inside James Thurber's delicious 1945 smorgasbord of essays, stories, and sketches. This festival is, surprises and all, a collection of earlier collections (mostly), including, among others, gems from My World--and Welcome to It, Let Your Mind Alone!, and The Middle Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze. Needless to say, there are also numerous cartoons that, by themselves, are worth the price of admission. While redoubling Thurber's deserved reputation as a laugh-out-loud humorist and teller-of-gentle-tales, it reintroduces him as a thinker-of-thoughts. To wit: his 1933 "Preface to a Life," in which he observes himself while discussing "writers of light pieces running from a thousand to two thousand words":
To call such persons "humorists," a loose-fitting and ugly word, is to miss the nature of their dilemma and the dilemma of their nature. The little wheels of their invention are set in motion by the damp hand of melancholy.
Enjoy the surprises, certainly, but revel in the candy-coated popcorn and peanuts. As in "More Alarms at Night," in which a teenaged Thurber intrudes upon his sleeping father, a skittish man named Charles, because he can't recall the name Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Coincidentally, his father has just been frightened half to death by Thurber's brother, who had earlier stalked into his room saying coldly, "Buck, your time has come."
"Listen," I said. "Name some towns in New Jersey quick!" It must have been around three in the morning. Father got up, keeping the bed between him and me, and started to pull his trousers on. "Don't bother about dressing," I said. "Just name some towns in New Jersey." While he hastily pulled on his clothes--I remember he left his socks off and put his shoes on his bare feet--father began to name, in a shaky voice, various New Jersey cities. I can still see him reaching for his coat without taking his eyes off me. "Newark," he said, "Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson--" "It has two names," I snapped. "Elizabeth and Paterson," he said.
Of course, things turn out fine, as well they should. And why not? The best of Thurber, which The Thurber Carnival arguably is, is sublime; surprising insight and wry observations tossed lightly and served constantly with effortless good humor and an obvious love for all things gently eccentric. --Michael Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:30 -0400)

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A collection of essays and illustrations by the American humorist, including "The Seal in the Bedroom" and "My Life and Hard Times"

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