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The Thurber Letters

The Wit, Wisdom and Surprising Life of James Thurber

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Though he died more than forty years ago, James Thurber remains one of America's greatest and most enduring humorists, and his books -- for both adults and children -- remain as popular as ever. In this comprehensive collection of his letters -- the majority of which have never before been published -- we find unsuspected insights into his life and career.
His prodigious body of work -- fables, drawings, comic essays, reportage, short stories, including his famous "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" -- all define Thurber's special and prolific genius. Like most good humorists, he was prone to exaggeration, embellishment, and good-natured self-deprecation. In his letters we find startling revelations about who he really was, and why the prism through which he viewed the world could often be both painfully and delightfully distorting.
For the first time, Thurber's daughter Rosemary has allowed the publication of many of the extremely personal letters he wrote early in his life to the women he was -- usually hopelessly -- in love with, as well as the affectionate and hilarious letters that he wrote to her. In addition, Harrison Kinney, noted Thurber biographer, has located a number of Thurber letters never before published. The Thurber Letters traces Thurber's progress from lovesick college boy to code clerk with the State Department in Paris and reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, through his marriages and love affairs, his special relationship with his daughter, his illustrious and tumultuous years with The New Yorker, his longstanding relationship with E. B. White, his close friendship with Peter De Vries, and his tragic last days. Included in the book are Thurber drawings never before published. His candid comments in these personal letters, whether lighthearted or melancholy, comprise an entertaining, captivating, informal biography -- pure, wonderful Thurber.

From Publishers Weekly

May 26, 2003 – This new edition of Thurber's (1894–1961) correspondence to friends, family, lovers, fellow writers and, of course, New Yorkercolleagues runs almost three times the length of the Selected Letters. A maturing portrait emerges, from bumptious young State Department code clerk during WWI to the man behind Walter Mitty, and the milieu of the old New Yorker comes similarly to life. The early letters to his Ohio State fraternity pal and college sweetheart are both sophomoric and romantic. After being posted to Paris and returning to the U.S. at the height of the Roaring 20s, Thurber's stylistic craftsmanship has begun to catch up with his sophisticated wit, which comes to fruition when he joins Harold Ross's New Yorker to edit, write, and rewrite "Talk of the Town" and draw dog cartoons. Thurber employs comedy adeptly and variously to woo several objects of affection and infatuation, to spar with the editorially prickly Ross and to construct droll personae to deal with life's predicaments and to amuse his recipients. The letters hit their peak of hilarity and exuberance in the late 1920s, just before he achieves unexpected fame as a bestselling author, with E.B. White, of Is Sex Necessary?. The chief pleasures here are the free and uncensored jokes (and drawings) and the occasional glimpses, behind Thurber's authorial mask, of a disappointed lover, discontented spirit, Civil War buff and Henry James devotee. For all the padding with prosaic entries, this carnival of correspondence, edited by Thurber's daughter and his biographer, fulfills its promise of wit and wisdom. 16 pages of b&w photos, 15 line drawings.
The Thurber Letters
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  • $16.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary Criticism
  • Published: Nov 01, 2007
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 800 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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