[[quoteright:240:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/James_Thurber_5941.jpg]]

->''"I'm not an artist. I'm a painstaking writer who doodles for relaxation."''

James Grover Thurber (18941961) was an American humor writer and cartoonist. Among his well-known works are the short story "Literature/TheSecretLifeOfWalterMitty" and the children's fantasy novels ''Literature/The13Clocks'' and ''The Wonderful O''.

In his own time his writing and art were often associated with ''Magazine/TheNewYorker'' magazine where many of his short stories first appeared. Many of Thurber's fictions, such as "Walter Mitty," "A Couple of Hamburgers," and "The War Between Men and Women," deal with the fundamental conflict between men and women, and the romantic vs. practical mindset represented by each, respectively. His works are also colored by his liberal individualist views, in a time when creeping nationalism was threatening personal freedom in many parts of the world -- some not entirely remote -- and are also characterized by a deep sympathy for animals, particularly dogs.

A personal favorite writer of one [[Series/CountdownWithKeithOlbermann Keith Olbermann]] who single-handedly sparked enough popular demand to put Thurber's anthologies back into print in the late '00s, when he revealed that he would read from a book of Thurber's stories to his terminally ill father, who suggested he read some of them on his TV show.

!!Works by James Thurber with their own trope pages include:

* ''Literature/The13Clocks''
* "Literature/TheMacbethMurderMystery"
* "Literature/TheSecretLifeOfWalterMitty"

!!Works inspired by James Thurber with their own trope pages include:

* ''Film/{{The Secret Life of Walter Mitty|1947}}'' (1947)
* ''Film/TheSecretLifeOfWalterMitty'' (2013)
* "WesternAnimation/TheUnicornInTheGarden"
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!!Other works by James Thurber provide examples of:

* AffectionateParody:
** ''Fables for Our Times'' parodies Aesop's Fables-type moral stories.
** "The Scotty Who Knew Too Much" parodies the HardboiledDetective story.
* AttractiveBentSpecies: Clode [[CarnivoreConfusion has trouble]] with this in ''The White Deer''.
* BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad: In one story, a character bids another "Bad bye!"
* BalefulPolymorph: A central dilemma of ''The White Deer'' is whether the deer maiden is an example of this or of [[PinocchioSyndrome benevolent]] [[AWizardDidIt polymorph]].
* BeastFable: quite a few of the ''Fables For Our Times''
* CanineCompanion: Thurber was definitely a dog person, and the lumpy "Thurber Dog" features prominently in stories and cartoons.
* CassandraTruth:
** In "The Unicorn in the Garden", a HenpeckedHusband finds a unicorn in the garden, but his wife doesn't believe him, telling him firmly that there's no such thing as unicorns, and calls for him to be taken away to a mental asylum. The tables are turned when the officials from the asylum arrive; when she tells them her husband saw a unicorn in the garden, he meekly says that there's no such thing as unicorns, leaving her looking like the unbalanced one.
** "The Catbird Seat" is about a man who plots to get rid of an incredibly obnoxious woman who works at his office; she's driven away most of his colleagues and is about to talk his superior into cutting out the man's department. The man, a clean-living, sober type who wouldn't hurt a fly, visits her apartment one night, at which point he drinks whiskey, smokes a cigar and discusses his plan to kill his boss using very harsh language. The next day, the woman tries to warn their boss of the man's plan... and is fired when the boss thinks she's having a breakdown.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: In the short story "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife", Mr. Preble is planning to murder his wife so he can run off with his secretary. She is suspicious when he asks her to go down to the cellar with him, and he blurts out the truth almost immediately -- and ends up in an argument about the selfish and inconsiderate way he's chosen to go about it (she's in the middle of a book and doesn't feel like going down to the cellar to be murdered just now; it's cold down there, and he's picked out a lousy murder weapon and makes her wait while he goes to find another one... and so on).
* CriminalDoppelganger: "The Remarkable Case of Mr. Bruhl"
* CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon: What the Big Bad in ''The Wonderful O'' threatens Littlejohn's parrot with: "I'll squck its thrug till all it can whubble is geep!"
* EngagementChallenge: In ''The White Deer''.
* FinishingEachOthersSentences: "The Curb in the Sky," where the trope has harrowing consequences.
* FracturedFairyTale: Many, particularly ''The White Deer'', ''The Great Quillow,'' and ''Fables For Our Times.''
* {{Gaslighting}}: "The Unicorn In The Garden", "The Catbird Seat", "The Great Quillow"
* HenpeckedHusband: Lots of them. One example is the title character in "Mr. Preble Gets Rid of His Wife", who attempts to murder his wife so that he can run off with his secretary. He's so spineless that she stops him just by complaining... and then she starts listing his mistakes and insisting he do it ''properly''.
* HopeSproutsEternal: "The Last Flower"
* LittleRedFightingHood: In "The Little Girl and the Wolf", a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood", the little girl kills the wolf with a handgun she happens to be carrying in her basket.
* MarsAndVenusGenderContrast: An incessantly recurring theme throughout Thurber's stories.
* TheMarvelousDeer: ''The White Deer'' is all about what a deer really is.
* MassiveMultiplayerScam: "The Great Quillow" involves some townspeople who pull one of these on a giant to get him to leave their village alone.
* OhWaitThisIsMyGroceryList: In the children's book ''Many Moons'', the king's three advisors carry lists of all of the matters they have been consulted on. As each one reads out his list, all have added grocery items their wives wanted the advisors to pick up that day.
* TheOwlKnowingOne: Subverted in "The Owl Who Was God", in ''Fables For Our Time'', where the Owl is just a SeeminglyProfoundFool.
* PirateParrot: The pirate Littlejohn in ''The Wonderful O'' has a parrot that annoys the book's BigBad (by using words containing the letter "O").
* PlatoIsAMoron: "Something to Say" is built around Eliot Vereker, a supposedly great author whose reputation is based entirely on disparaging really great authors, e.g., "Santayana has weight: he's a ton of feathers. Proust was sick. If Voltaire did not exist, it would not be necessary to invent him, etc., etc."
* PutMeInCoach: The short story "You Could Look It Up" features a baseball team in a slump putting a midget in as a pinch hitter to walk in the tying run. After verifying that yes, his contract is valid and no, there AintNoRule that says he can't play, he's allowed to bat... and promptly hits the ball and is thrown out at first, losing the game. In a DoubleSubversion, however, the incident is so ridiculous that it snaps the team out of their slump and they go on to win the pennant.
* RhymesOnADime: The woods wizards in ''The White Deer''
* SdrawkcabName: The villain of ''The White Deer'' is named [[Myth/KingArthur Nagrom Yaf]].
* SeeminglyProfoundFool: ''Fables for our Time'' has "The Owl Who Was God", where a bunch of forest animals make an owl their leader when this trope makes them think he's TheOwlKnowingOne, with the result that most of them (including the owl) get killed by being run over by a truck.
* ShoehornedFirstLetter: "The State of Bontana" in which characters, challenged to think of a state beginning with B (there isn't one), guess "Bontana", "Butah", and "Bassachusetts", among others. The payoff is when the next challenge is to name a bird, and one of them says "Beagle!"
* SommelierSpeak: A well-known Thurber cartoon has a man telling his dinner party guests, "It's a naïve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption."
* SpoofAesop: Common in ''Fables For Our Time''.
* TarAndFeathers: "What Happened To Charles", one of the ''Fables For Our Time'', ends with a duck named Eva being tarred and ''un''feathered as a result of her habit of spreading sensational and inaccurate gossip.
* TwentyBearAsses: The quests in ''The White Deer'', most notably the quest to obtain a drop of blood from the finger of 1000 kings, which was calculated to be [[ImpossibleTask unachievable in one lifetime]].
* {{Unicorn}}: "The Unicorn in the Garden"
* WorldWarWhatever: "The Last Flower" begins with World War XII.
* WorthlessTreasureTwist: In ''The Wonderful O'', the island's treasure turns out to be the word "freedom". At least in this case the islanders did their best to make it clear from the outset that there were no real jewels.
* YoungestChildWins: ''The White Deer'' features three brothers, of which the older two are brawny insensitive types, and the youngest a gentle romantic. The book surprisingly gives all three a fair amount of attention but still makes it clear the youngest is meant to be the most admirable.
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