James Thurber Books In Order


  1. Middle – Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935)
  2. The Last Flower (1939)
  3. The White Deer (1945)
  4. The 13 Clocks (1950)
  5. The Wonderful O (1955)


  1. The Owl In the Attic (1931)
  2. Men, Women and Dogs (1940)
  3. Many Moons (1942)
  4. My World – and Welcome to It (1942)
  5. The Thurber Carnival (1942)
  6. The Great Quillow (1944)
  7. Thurber Country (1946)
  8. The Beast in Me and Other Animals (1950)
  9. The Thurber Album (1952)
  10. Thurber Dogs (1955)
  11. Further Fables for Our Time (1956)
  12. Alarms and Diversions (1957)
  13. Lanterns and Lances (1961)
  14. Credos and Curios (1962)
  15. Vintage Thurber (1963)
  16. Thurber and Company (1966)
  17. 92 Stories (1987)
  18. Collecting Himself (1989)
  19. People Have More Fun Than Anybody (1994)
  20. Better to Have Loafed and Lost (2002)
  21. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2005)
  22. Collected Fables (2019)

Non fiction

  1. Let Your Mind Alone! (1937)
  2. My Life and Hard Times (1948)
  3. The Years with Ross (1959)
  4. Is Sex Necessary? (1960)
  5. Thurber (1975)
  6. Selected Letters of James Thurber (1982)
  7. Thurber on Crime (1991)

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James Thurber Books Overview

Middle – Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze

This collection has 36 stories including: ‘The Gentleman is Cold,’ ‘Everything is Wild,’ ‘Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife,’ ‘Hell Only Breaks Loose Once,’ ‘If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox,’ and ‘How to See a Bad Play.’ The London Times said, ‘There may be greater humorists writing in America today than James Thurber, but none with quite his individual touch and his flavor.’

The Last Flower

Originally published in November 1939, two months after World War II officially began, James Thurber’s parable in pictures a graphic novel ahead of its day about eternal cycles of war, peace, love, and the resilience of one little flower remains as relevant today as it was then. The New York Times called it ‘at once one of the most serious and one of the most hilarious contributions on war.’ Civilization has collapsed after World War XII, dogs have deserted their masters, all the groves and gardens have been destroyed, and love has vanished from the earth. Then one day, ‘a young girl who had never seen a flower chanced to come upon the last one in the world.’ Written among the sorrow and chaos of war, dedicated to this only child ‘ in the wistful hope that her world will be better than mine.’ The new printing will feature new scans of Thurber’s original 1939 drawings.

The White Deer

Here is a Thurber world of enchanted deer and seven headed dragons, of wizards and witches, of riddles and spells, of false love and true. It is the story of a beautiful princess, transformed from a deer, who assigns each of three princes a perilous labor to perform in order to win her hand. Drawings by the Author.

The 13 Clocks

Once upon a time, in a gloomy castle on a lonely hill, where there were thirteen clocks that wouldn t go, there lived a cold, aggressive Duke, and his niece, the Princess Saralinda. She was warm in every wind and weather, but he was always cold. His hands were as cold as his smile, and almost as cold as his heart. He wore gloves when he was asleep, and he wore gloves when he was awake, which made it difficult for him to pick up pins or coins or the kernels of nuts, or to tear the wings from nightingales. So begins James Thurber’s sublimely revamped fairy tale, The 13 Clocks, in which a wicked Duke who imagines he has killed time, and the Duke s beautiful niece, for whom time seems to have run out, both meet their match, courtesy of an enterprising and very handsome prince in disguise. Readers young and old will take pleasure in this tale of love forestalled but ultimately fulfilled, admiring its upstanding hero He yearned to find in a far land the princess of his dreams, singing as he went, and possibly slaying a dragon here and there and unapologetic villain We all have flaws, the Duke said. Mine is being wicked , while wondering at the enigmatic Golux, the mysterious stranger whose unpredictable interventions speed the story to its necessarily happy end.

The Wonderful O

Black and Littlejack are bad men. Littlejack has a map that indicates the existence of a treasure on a far and lonely island. He needs a ship to get there. Black has a ship. So they team up and sail off on Black’s vessel, the Aeiu. A weird uncanny name, remarks Littlejack, like a nightbird screaming. Black explains that it s all the vowels except for O. O he hates since his mother got wedged in a porthole. They couldn t pull her in so they had to push her out. Black and Littlejack arrive at the port of the far and lonely island and demand the treasure. No one knows anything about it, so they have their henchmen ransack the place to no avail. But Black has a better idea: he will take over the island and he will purge it of O. The vicissitudes visited on the islanders by Black and Littlejack, the harsh limits of a life sans O where shoe is she and woe is we, and how finally with a little luck and lots of pluck the islanders shake off their tyrannical interlopers and discover the true treasure for themselves Oh yes and get back their O s these are only some of the surprises that await readers of James Thurber s timelessly zany fairy tale about two louts who try to lock up the language and lose.

Many Moons

Princess Lenore is ill from eating too many raspberry tarts. She believes that possessing the moon is the only thing that will cure her. Despite a command from the King, neither the Lord High Chamberlain nor the Royal Wizard nor the Royal Mathematician can get the moon for her. Only when the clever Court Jester consults the Princess herself is the problem solved with characteristic Thurber wit.

My World – and Welcome to It

The world of Thurber is splendidly sampled in these thirty stories, sketches, and articles that range from the wildest comedy to the serious business of murder. Animal courtship, maids, Macbeth, baseball, sailing, marriage all fall within Thurber’s scope. Drawings by the Author.

The Thurber Carnival

James Thurber’s unique ability to convey the vagaries of life in a funny, witty, and often satirical way earned him accolades as one of the finest humorists of the twentieth century. A bestseller upon its initial publication in 1945. The Thurber Carnival captures the depth and breadth of his talent. The pieces here, almost all of which first appeared in The New Yorker, include selections from such beloved classics as My World and Welcome to It, The Owl in the Attic, The Seal in the Bathroom, and Men, Women and Dogs. Thurber’s take on life, society, and human nature is timeless and will continue to delight readers even as they recognize a bit of themselves in his brilliant sketches.

The Great Quillow

Quillow, a tiny toymaker, defeats a ferocious giant named Hunder and saves his town from destruction.

Thurber Country

First published in 1949, Thurber Country remains a benchmark of satirical writing. Now, in this Simon & Schuster Classic Edition, is the original book, with a new introduction by Lillian Ross. The fact that James Thurber wrote this collection of pieces is, of course, a publisher’s blurb in itself. It therefore is necessary simply to give the reader some factual idea of what sort of pieces they are. There are 26 of them. Most including ‘File and Forget,’ a correspondence with his publishers which is not recommended to people who have a tendency to get bad hiccoughs from too much laughing have already appeared in The New Yorker. Seven pieces have appeared in The Bermudian and have therefore never been published in this country. You will find Thurber Country a place not difficult to enter, but hard to leave.

The Beast in Me and Other Animals

These twenty three humorous stories and essays and more than one hundred illustrations find James Thurber in absolutely top form. The book concludes with a sampling of articles Thurber wrote for the New Yorker’s The Talk of the Town, demonstrating his often overlooked skill as a reporter.

Further Fables for Our Time

Here, in the companion volume to ‘Fables For Our Time’, are 47 fables including ‘The Wolf Who Went Places’, ‘The Bragdowdy and the Busybody’, ‘The Human Being and the Dinosaur’ and ‘The Peacelike Mongoose’.

92 Stories

A massive anthology of short fiction by the ever popular humorist, parodist, and cartoonist features ninety two of Thurber’s hilarious, offbeat stories about marriage, aging, family, and everyday life.

People Have More Fun Than Anybody

This volume of previously uncollected work comprises prose pieces and drawings by the only cartoonist who could claim to draw ‘abstract things like despair, disillusion, despondency, sorrow, lapse of memory, exile…
.’ Seventy five black and white line drawings throughout. Edited and with an Introduction by Michael J. Rosen.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Musical comedy Based on the story by James Thurber Characters: 5 male, 6 female, and as many extras as desired. Scenery: Various simple sets or one basic set. On his fortieth birthday Walter Mitty reflects on his drab, ordinary life. Defeated in his quest for wealth and glory by family responsibilities, a mortgage, and a routine job, he creates elaborate fantasies in which he is the hero. His secret world is so enticing that he often loses sight of the boundary between dream and reality and comically slips into his imagination. An attractive would be chanteuse aptly named Willa de Wisp encourages Walter to leave his wife, shed the burdens of suburban living and really live the secret life. Unfortunately it is as unattainable as it is appealing. At the end of the play Walter discovers that he is happily committed to the real world. ‘A thoroughly pleasant musical evening.’– Time.

Let Your Mind Alone!

A collection of humorous essays, accompanied by the author’s own bizarre drawings, presenting Thurber’s unremitting retort to the multitude of ‘self help’ books which were widespread in the 1930s and whose successors are still with us today.

My Life and Hard Times

In My Life and Hard Times, Thurber returns to his starting pointthe delightful chaos and frustrations brought on by family, boyhood, youth, odd dogs, and recalcitrant machinery in the quiet university town of his birth. This is one of the most deeply humorous books of our century. Not only is it a ‘memoir’ that takes into account the crumbling of empires, it talks ‘largely about small matters and smally about great affairs.’ Mostly it is about the widely incredible things people do when they think they are acting sensibly. Yet Thurber does more than just tickle your funny bone. He has quietly and unobtrusively, but permanently, deflated your false pride in the essential sanity and prudence of the human race.

The Years with Ross

At the helm of America’s most influential literary magazine for more than half a century, Harold Ross introduced the country to a host of exciting talent, including Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcott, Ogden Nash, Peter Arno, Charles Addams, and Dorothy Parker. But no one could have written about this irascible, eccentric genius more affectionately or more critically than James Thurber an American icon in his own right whose portrait of Ross captures not only a complex literary giant but a historic friendship and a glorious era as well. ‘If you get Ross down on paper,’ warned Wolcott Gibbs to Thurber,’ nobody will ever believe it.’ But readers of this unforgettable memoir will find that they do.

Is Sex Necessary?

The first book of prose published by either James Thurber or E. B. White, Is Sex Necessary?? combines the humor and genius of both authors to examine those great mysteries of life romance, love, and marriage. A masterpiece of drollery, this 75th Anniversary Edition stands the test of time with its sidesplitting spoof of men, women, and psychologists; more than fifty funny illustrations by Thurber; and a new foreword by John Updike.


In life, James Thurber called himself ‘a wide eyed son of a bit*ch with a glass in his hand.’ Here, in Burton Bernstein’s indispensable biography, readers learn how the famed New Yorker humorist and columnist changed from a shy, handicapped Ohioan to the tormented man be became. The author will be featured on a PBS documentary on Thurber this spring. 27 line illustations.

Selected Letters of James Thurber

A collection of letters by an American humorist, known for his drawings and writings, especially ‘My World and Welcome To It’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’. 37 of his most famous drawings illustrate the letters throughout.

Thurber on Crime

One of the greatest American humorists of our century, Thurber was not a man to shrink from danger as long as he was safely ensconced behind his typewriter or drawing board. Here is a collection of ruminations on everyday villainy stories, articles and drawings on the evil that men and women do. 32 line drawings.

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