Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Essay: "The Lady on the Bookcase." James Thurber.

One-minute review: Cartoonist separates his cartoons into five categories. Some of his funniest cartoons are as follows:

A man approaches his house that is wrapped around by his scowling wife.

A wife and husband are in bed and behind the bed is a seal. The wife says to the husband, “All right, have it your way—you heard a seal bark.”

A woman crouches on the top of a bookcase as the husband below says to his visitor, “That’s my first wife up there,” referring to the woman on top of the bookcase. and, beckoning to the woman standing beside him, “This is the present Mrs. Harris.”

A woman glares at a hippopotamus with a shoe and a hat on the ground beside it and says, “What have you done with Dr. Millmoss?”

Finally, in a psychiatrist’s office, the psychiatrist, looking very much like a rabbit, says to his patient, “You said a moment ago that everybody you look at seems to be a rabbit. Now just what do you mean by that, Mrs. Sprague?”

In this essay, Thurber describes the origin of these cartoons.

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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