Today in Literary History – December 8, 1894 – James Thurber is born

James Thurber, the humourist, playwright and cartoonist was born on December 8, 1894. He was a celebrated New Yorker staff writer and cartoonist and a member of the Algonquin Round Table that gathered some of the greatest talkers and wits of the 1930s and forties.


His short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” has become a classic of American humour and is often anthologized. It has even given the English language the word Mittyesque for a milquetoast who lives on unrealistic heroic fantasies.

Thurber was almost entirely blind from a childhood accident. He drew his cartoons on large squares of paper with a black crayon. His drawings are bold and imaginative. His subjects were mostly domestic, featuring henpecked husbands.


Thurber died in 1961 at the age of 66 after a blood clot on his brain and several small strokes.

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