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    James Thurber Quotes

    American author, cartoonist, humorist, & satirist
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    Quotes by James Thurber

    • All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
    • He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes.
    • He who hesitates is sometimes saved.
    • 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.
    • I hate women because they always know where things are.
    • I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm.
    • I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.
    • It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.
    • It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.
    • Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation.
    • The only rules comedy can tolerate are those of taste, and the only limitations those of libel.
    • The paths of glory at least lead to the grave, but the paths of duty may not get you any where.
    • The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself, but in so doing, he identifies himself with people--that is, people everywhere, not for the purpose of taking them apart, but simply revealing their true nature.
    • There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
    • Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?
    • 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.
      "Carpe Noctem, If You Can", in "Credos and Curios" (1962)
    • The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.
      in Edward R. Murrow television interview
    • Her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house.
      My Life and Hard Times (1933)
    • Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?
      New Yorker cartoon caption, June 5, 1937
    • You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.
      New Yorker, Apr. 29, 1939 "The Bear Who Let It Alone"
    • You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.
      New Yorker, Apr. 29, 1939 "The Owl who was God"
    • Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.
      New Yorker, Feb. 18, 1939 "The Shrike and the Chipmunks"
    • There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.
      New Yorker, Feb. 4, 1939, "The Fairly Intelligent Fly"
    If we're missing any James Thurber books or quotes, do email us.

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