Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated” as Want to Read:
Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  322 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
James Thurber has been called "one of our great American institutions' (Stanley Walker), "a magnificent satirist (Boston Transcript), and "a Joyce in false-face" (New York Times). The New York Herald Tribune submits that he is "as blithe as Benchley...as savage as Swift...surprisingly wise and witty," while the Times of London, out of enthusiasm and a profound regard for t ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 23rd 1983 by Harper Perennial (first published 1940)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Laura
Dec 26, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Somewhere along the line -- largely because of The 13 Clocks, I'm guessing -- Thurber has suffered the same fate as Mark Twain in that he's become known as an avuncular old man who told some funny stories and was generally amusing. You'll be disabused of that notion pretty quickly after you finish this book. Go read "The Fairly Intelligent Fly" or "The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing" if you don't believe me. Thurber happens to be hilarious, but he bites.
Lugene
Jun 21, 2017 Lugene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read one fable a night. Funny and spot on.
K.
Jan 12, 2015 K. rated it liked it
I know Thurber more for Walter Mitty and The Catbird Seat, but someone from my book club selected his fables, so I dove in. Thurber invokes a voice very specific to the early 20th Century. He is dry, aloof, disenchanted and slowing burning with frustration. He's from the first generation of office workers, men a bit castrated by desk jobs, by micromanaging bosses, and by women whose ambitions are frustrated by strict gender roles.

So Thurber lashes out not with grand, physical prowess wielded by
...more
James
I was originally introduced to the writing of James Thurber when I found The Thurber Carnival collection in our library at home. This was when I was old enough to read but long enough ago that I do not remember the exact date. At a later point in my education I read some of the more famous fables in High School English class.


This collection brings together the fables and some of the poems for which Thurber provided illustrations. The fables include both the better-known ones like "The Unicorn in
...more
Sarah Ansani
Mar 23, 2014 Sarah Ansani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, poetry
I bought this book in Baltimore and how appropriate that the Baltimore Oriole makes an appearance in two of the fables? Thurber's tongue-in-cheek renditions are adorable and dark. Like what every fable should do, the absurdities and unfairnesses of life are presented. Despite obvious efforts, the protagonists often have the same fate as the antagonists. That's just how life goes, my friends. Towards the end of the book are some similarly ill-fated 17th century poems that Thurber chose to illustr ...more
Ryk Stanton
Okay, I guess I don't get it. I know that Thurber is a name to be reckoned with and so there must be some great quality to his work, but I don't see it at al...l. I suffered through his one-page parables without seeing what makes him such a great satirist, and the end of this book featured other people's poems with what I understand to be Thurber's cartoony line drawings – I just don't get it. I know somebody out there loves this guy – can you explain to me?

This is one of those books I would hav
...more
blake
It was nice to pick up this book on a day when I got some really saddening news for while it is occasionally dark, it's mostly a light-hearted, whimsical take on the concept of fables. There will be an amusing story, followed by a moral which is sometimes just a funny variation of a well known aphorism, sometimes quite on point, sometimes quite contrary to the point you might expect to take, sometimes surprisingly profound and sometimes completely out of left field.

I like the simplistic art styl
...more
Yvonne
Jul 18, 2013 Yvonne rated it really liked it
Recommended to Yvonne by: I chose this title as the result of library search for James Thurber after reading Walter Mitty, etc.
James Thurber retells some fables, with FABulous results! He provides some revised morals: A new broom may sweep clean, but never trust an old saw. You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward. It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers. Whom God has equipped with flippers should not monkey around with zippers. Youth will be served, frequently with chestnuts.
Now don't you want to read the fables to go with such wise morals?
Thurber also provi
...more
Joanne Cookson
Apr 18, 2016 Joanne Cookson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I only read a few of the poems. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the fables. They're quick, and I loved that so many of them were still quite timely considering this has a 1940 copyright ("The Very Proper Gander" and " The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble"), funny (anything that makes me laugh--more guffaw, really--out loud in a crowded place gets my vote) and/or just plain quirky.
J.E.
May 13, 2013 J.E. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thurber is classic. Very twentieth century and utterly lost on my English book club mates. I have loved his fractured fairy tales since the eighth grade. Some pretty pertinent satire from the author of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
David Ward
Fables For Our Time: and Famous Poems Illustrated by James Thurber (Harper Collins 1974)(818). First published in 1943, this is an uproarious collection of well-known fables retold in the twisted manner of Thurber. My rating: 7/10, finished 1973.
Daniel
May 14, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the first part of this book, Thurber's very witty Fables for Our Time, but Thurber's illustrations detracted from the famous poems he included at the end. . .

The fables made for wonderful reading before bed. . .
Matt Piechocinski
Jun 06, 2011 Matt Piechocinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first introduction to Thurber, and I thought it was hilarious. I did think he should have ended it after his last fable. I didn't really need to read other poet's poems that he did illustrations too ... if they were original, that'd be another story.
Robert
One of the morals related is "Never let a nervous woman have a pistol."
Stanley Daugherty
Excellent!!!
Shannon
Apr 09, 2009 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: amusing
the one thing that annoys me about this book is how good it is.
Melissa
Sexist. And incredibly not funny.
Ethan
Sep 19, 2012 Ethan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thurbers tales and poems are fantastic and all the illustrations are sublime. Wish this was still in print.
Wilbur
Aug 28, 2016 Wilbur rated it really liked it
Great fun.
Jessica
Dec 26, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hilarious grandpas; people with dead/non-hilarious grandpas
Shelves: favorites
Hah hah hah hah hah hah!!!!

If you don't like this book, you're an asshole.

Sorry, I know that's pretty rude, but I'm just calling it like I see it.
Lee Kinkade
Lee Kinkade rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2012
Rolland
Rolland rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2010
Angela Holtzman
Angela Holtzman rated it really liked it
May 29, 2013
Joni
Joni rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2014
John Kroll
John Kroll rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2013
Steve Majerus-Collins
Steve Majerus-Collins rated it really liked it
Apr 01, 2017
Antoine
Antoine rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2008
Stephen Harvey
Stephen Harvey rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2014
Theresa
Theresa rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2007
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • In Paul Klee's Enchanted Garden
  • Calvin and Hobbes 1: Thereby Hangs a Tale
  • Archy and Mehitabel
  • 100 Malicious Little Mysteries
  • Viva la Repartee: Clever Comebacks and Witty Retorts from History's Great Wits and Wordsmiths
  • Greyhaven
  • Encyclopedia of Bad Taste
  • Mad Amos
  • The Goon Show Scripts
  • Monty Python's Big Red Book
  • Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit
  • Полная история Средиземья
  • The Superior Person's Book of Words
  • Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students
  • Live and Learn and Pass It on: People Ages 5 to 95 Share What They've Discovered about Life, Love, and Other Good Stuff
  • The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy II
  • The Right to Arm Bears (Dilbia, #1-2)
  • Apocalypse 2012: A Novel
16839
Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio to Charles L. Thurber and Mary Agnes (Mame) Fisher Thurber. Both of his parents greatly influenced his work. His father, a sporadically employed clerk and minor politician who dreamed of being a lawyer or an actor, is said to have been the inspiration for the small, timid protagonist typical of many of his stories. Thurber described his mother as a "born comedien ...more
More about James Thurber...

Share This Book