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COLLECTING HIMSELF: James Thurber on Writing and Writers, Humor and Himself edited by Michael J. Rosen (Harper: $8.95, illustrated)

October 21, 1990|CHARLES SOLOMON

Initially published in 1989, "Collecting Himself" features previously uncollected reviews of books and plays, miscellaneous essays on the use and abuse of the English language and Thurber's reflections on his work in theater and at the New Yorker. An intelligent and discerning critic, Thurber wrote cogently about F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Last Tycoon" and devastatingly about the inane prose in self-help books. A selection of drawings include hilarious self-caricatures of his meeting with Carl Sandburg and some delightful new cartoons, including a bookish Thurber man demanding of his wife, "How is it possible, woman, in the awful and magnificent times we live in, to be preoccupied exclusively with the piddling?"

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