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Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel the Way…
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Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel the Way You Do (original: 1929; edição: 2004)

de James Thurber (Autor), John Updike (Prefácio)

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5421133,670 (3.63)15
The first book of prose published by either James Thurber or E. B. White, Is Sex Necessary? combines the humor and genius of both authors to examine those great mysteries of life -- romance, love, and marriage. A masterpiece of drollery, this 75th Anniversary Edition stands the test of time with its sidesplitting spoof of men, women, and psychologists; more than fifty funny illustrations by Thurber; and a new foreword by John Updike.… (mais)
Membro:UIUC_LGBT_RC
Título:Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel the Way You Do
Autores:James Thurber (Autor)
Outros autores:John Updike (Prefácio)
Informação:Harper Perennial (2004), Edition: 75 Anv, 208 pages
Coleções:History, Gender & Sexuality, Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:unfinished, goodreads

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Is Sex Necessary?: Or Why You Feel the Way You Do de James Thurber (1929)

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» Veja também 15 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 11 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
It is interesting that E.B. White's other book, that is more directly fiction, was "Charlotte's Web." Nonetheless, an exploration of North American sexual attitudes in the late 1920's was a product of collaboration between a grammarian and a humourist...but isn't that a lot like life. It remains an interesting social document. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Oct 28, 2019 |
While dated, this is a fun read :) ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
As a final word on sex, this book fails. I’m glad I didn’t read this when I was young – it might have put me on the wrong track for years. As it was, I had to compile my perception of sex from tattered fantasy novels and lurid novellas accidentally classified in the young adult section of my local library. The discovery, when I was twelve, of a suitcase stuffed with the most hardcore pornography imaginable - buried, like some hideous treasure, in the damp leaves of the woods - well, that did not help either.

Thurber’s drawings scattered throughout this book are slightly interesting. A surprisingly astute observation comes tucked away in the appendix: White explains the sketches represent the ‘the melancholy of sex’ and ‘the implausibility of animals’. White explains most of the men in the drawings look frightened, but I disagree: I think they mostly look angry. This book is supposed to be light reading, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Thurber was secretly (or not so secretly) a misogynist, and a bitter one at that.
( )
  Peter_Scissors | Jun 21, 2016 |
Still hilarious. Dated in some ways, but remember, this was written in the 'Roaring Twenties' and so in other ways it's still relevant. It's both a spoof of the medical manuals of the time and a thoughtful, if sometimes satirical, exploration of the differences between men and women, pre- & post-marital intimacy, love and passion, etc. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Like many others, I was surprised and intrigued to see a "sex book" written by E.B. White, the author of beloved children's classics like Charlotte's Web. This is a humorous book co-written by White and James Thurber as a parody of clinical writings based on Freudian psychoanalysis. The book consists of eight chapters/essays, which more or less each stand on their own, although they all tie together under the same theme and style of satire. Despite its perhaps rather shocking title (given the time period it was written), the book is neither pornographic nor remotely explicit. At most, it mentions hand holding, knees touching when a couple is sitting next to one another, and an occasional kiss; it is therefore pretty tame and chaste for our day and age. (Perhaps ironically, it does devote two chapters to the ridiculousness of how parents and children can't talk openly about sex with one another and instead rely on "the birds and the bees" type talks that benefit no one with their vagueness and discomfort.) Instead, the book is rather more about relationships and how things can go wrong.

The book is clearly dated in some respects, although some amusing observations still ring true. Again, given the time period it was written (the late 1920s), it is not surprising that the book is entirely male-centric and heteronormative in its treatment of the subject of romantic relationships and marriage. A gross number of stereotypes are made (e.g., the nagging wife for one), but I let all these slide in the name of satire -- perhaps these thoughts were how Thurber and White really felt, or perhaps they just made for what the authors perceived as funnier content. (Truth be told, I suspect the former and wouldn't stand for such nonsense in a book written today, but something approaching 90 years in age gets a reprieve from me.)

The edition I had was the "Coming of Age" update, re-released in the 1950s with a new introduction by White. In it, he describes the first chapter "The Nature of the American Male: A Study of Pedestalism" as one of the finest, giving all the credit entirely to Thurber for that contribution. To my taste, this was probably the least funny of all the chapters in the book. Meanwhile, the second chapter "How to Tell Love from Passion" was by far the most amusing and had me chuckling aloud quite a bit. It had so many wonderfully hilarious passages, such as:

- "The medical profession recognizes two distinct types of men: first, the type that believes that to love a woman is not to desire her; second, the type that believes to desire a woman is not to love her. The medical profession rests."
- "I have taken up the question of Man's uncertainty about love and passion in two different circumstances - at the start of a letter, and in the middle of an embrace. It was originally my intention also to show how this uncertainty overcomes one at the end of a day in the country when a man is so tired that he not only can't distinguish love from passion, but has all he can do to distinguish one station on the New Haven railroad from another and often gets out at 125th Street by mistake."

As with most parodies, it helps to have a background understanding of the original works or concepts that are being skewered. While specific titles and authors referenced were lost on me, I've read enough studies from psychoanalysts and behaviorists back when I was a psychology major in college that I definitely appreciated a lot of the little digs and humorous anecdotes told as "case histories." (Of course, my background also meant that sometimes I didn't find certain lines funny because they referenced actual mental illness too glibly.) However, trading on stereotypes of female-male relationships as the authors do helps make the book readily accessible to lay readers as well. Again like many parodies, sometimes it feels like the joke goes on a little too long. Even though this book only clocks in at 190 pages complete with introduction and other ancillary materials, it still felt like it could have been shortened by one chapter and thus been more succinctly humorous.

The book contains 50+ sketch drawings by Thurber (later inked by White) scattered throughout its pages. These are sometimes more related to the written materials than at other times. Apparently Thurber was nicknamed "the Ugly Artist" because his drawings are so simple and seemingly unfinished, but his flowing lines with an almost cartoonish execution fit well with this book's tone. I found myself chuckling a good deal over some of these, especially given their accompanying captions, such as in the example below.

Caption: "Here we have that strange, alert furtiveness which instantly overtakes a man when he beholds a woman doing something which he does not thoroughly understand."

Overall, this book was a fairly entertaining and quick read, and I was glad to see a different side of a beloved children's author as he writes for an adult audience instead. But I'm not sure that I would go out of my way to recommend this title, as I think it may appeal to a small subset of people. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Oct 2, 2015 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (4 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Thurber, Jamesautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
White, E. B.autor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Updike, JohnPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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I have mentioned that the question of deciding whether a feeling be love or passion arises at inopportune moments, such as at the start of a letter. Let us say you have sat down to write a letter to your lady. There has been a normal amount of preparation for the ordeal, such as clearing a space on the desk (in doing which you have become momentarily interested in a little article in last month's Scribner's called, "Plumbing the Savage," and have stood for a minute reading the first page and deciding to let it go), and the normal amount of false alarms, such as sitting down and discovering that you have no cigarettes. (Note: if you think you can write the letter without cigarettes, it is not love, it is passion.)
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The first book of prose published by either James Thurber or E. B. White, Is Sex Necessary? combines the humor and genius of both authors to examine those great mysteries of life -- romance, love, and marriage. A masterpiece of drollery, this 75th Anniversary Edition stands the test of time with its sidesplitting spoof of men, women, and psychologists; more than fifty funny illustrations by Thurber; and a new foreword by John Updike.

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