One of America's most highly regarded humorists, James Thurber achieved much success as both a writer and a cartoonist. His humor was unique in that it was simultaneously funny and serious.
Thurber's writings and drawings are usually populated by men and women who struggle to cope with modern life and with each other (he frequently wrote about the friction between husbands and wives) often with puzzled dogs nearby, who quietly and compassionately observe the human scenes before them. One of his most anthologized stories is "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," a story which is typically humorous with serious implications as Mitty attempts to deal with a world in which he does not fit and feels inept and oppressed. In fact, Walter Mitty has become an entry in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (2002) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition (1993).
Having worked on newspapers in Columbus, Ohio, where he grew up, as well as Paris and New York, Thurber later joined the staff of the New Yorker magazine and was associated with it throughout his life. Thurber became one of the magazine's best-known contributors.
Other works of Thurber's are collected in books with titles that mirror his wry approach to life and his inimitable wit: My World and Welcome to It, The Beast in Me and Other Animals, and The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze. A play by Thurber is entitled The Male Animal.
In addition to these works, James Thurber wrote several children's books that are highly regarded, among them The White Deer and The Thirteen Clocks.