James Thurber Quotes

Most popular James Thurber Quotes

A woman's place is in the wrong.
— James Thurber

women

Discussion in America means dissent.

America discussion dissent

He who hesitates is sometimes saved.

hesitation

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

love

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

propaganda

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

humor

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity.
— James Thurber
I hate women because they always know where things are.
— James Thurber

women

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

government

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

art

One is all right, two is too many, and three is not enough.

martini

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
— James Thurber
It is better to have loafed and lost than never to have loafed at all.
— James Thurber

funny laziness

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

priorities

Nostalgic reverie, like amorous fantasy, belongs in the category of escape.
— James Thurber
There are two kinds of light—the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
— James Thurber

food for thought

Every time is a time for comedy in a world of tension that would languish without it.

Comedy

This is the posture of fortune's slave: one foot in the gravy, one foot in the grave.
— James Thurber
All men should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
— James Thurber
Art—the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised.

art

Look not to the future with fear, nor to the past with anger, but be in the present with awareness.
— James Thurber
Men of all degrees should form this prudent habit: never serve a rabbit stew before you catch the rabbit.
Humor in a living culture must not be put away in the attic with the flag, but should be flaunted, like the flag, bravely.

humor

The devoted writer of humor must continue to try to come as close to the truth as he can, even if he gets burned in the process.

writers

The dog has seldom been successful in pulling man up to its level of sagacity, but man has frequently dragged the dog down to his.
— James Thurber
With sixty staring me in the face, I have developed inflammation of the sentence structure and definite hardening of the paragraphs.
I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed.
— James Thurber

psychiatrist

The dog has got more fun out of Man than Man has got out of the dog, for the clearly demonstrable reason that Man is the more laughable of the two animals.

dogs

Humor does not include sarcasm, invalid irony, sardonicism, or any other form of cruelty.  When these things are raised to a high point they can become wit.

wit humor wit vs. humor

For some curious reason man has always assumed that he is the highest form of life in the Universe. There is, of course, nothing at all with which to sustain this view.
— James Thurber
Human Dignity has gleamed only now and then and here and there, in lonely splendor, throughout the ages, a hope of the better men, never an achievement of the majority.

dignity

Ours is a precarious language, as every writer knows, in which the merest shadow line often separates affirmation from negation, sense from nonsense, and one sex from the other.
— James Thurber

language

Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false, or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.

communication

Having a manuscript under Ross's scrutiny was like putting your car in the hands of a skilled mechanic, not an automotive engineer with a bachelor of science degree, but a guy who knows what makes a motor go, and sputter, and wheeze, and sometimes comes to a dead stop; a man with an ear for the faintest body squeak as well as the loudest engine rattle.

editors

They sit on the edge of literature.  In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats.  Afraid of losing themselves in the larger flight of the two-volume novel, or even the one-volume novel, they stick to short accounts of their misadventures because they never get so deep into them that they feel they can get out.

humor