Their actual connection may be less well known. Lennon credited Thurber with being one of the major influences on his drawing. As Lennon biographer Philip Norman wrote:
Two comic artists, one British, one American were to have a profound influence on John’s style. He loved the intricate, scratchy technique of Ronald Searle . . . And, thanks to Aunt Mimi, he became a devotee of James Thurber, both the writings for The New Yorker and the cartoons, whose surreally wavering lines were a product of Thurber’s own near-blindness. John later said he began consciously “Thurberising” his drawings from the age of fifteen.When In His Own Write was published in 1964, the Time reviewer got the connection:
In this startling collection of verse and prosery, Lennon has rolled Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and James Thurber into one great post-Joycean spitball. All those jellybean-lobbing, caterwauling Beatle [sic] fans are not going to understand it at all.See for yourself. The Los Angeles Times has a photo gallery of a selected illustrations from Lennon’s books In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.
You can find a selection of Thurber mammals here or you read his illustrated, whimsical assessment of his own cartoons at our Story of the Week site.
John Lennon describes “Thurberising” to Dick Cavett:
Related LOA works: James Thurber: Writings and Drawings