Complete Stories

( 10 )

Overview

As this complete collection of her short stories demonstrates, Dorothy Parker’s talents extended far beyond brash one-liners and clever rhymes. Her stories not only bring to life the urban milieu that was her bailiwick but lay bare the uncertainties and disappointments of ordinary people living ordinary lives.

Dorothy Parker's quips and light verse have become part of the American literary landscape, but, as this new collection of her complete short stories ...

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Overview

As this complete collection of her short stories demonstrates, Dorothy Parker’s talents extended far beyond brash one-liners and clever rhymes. Her stories not only bring to life the urban milieu that was her bailiwick but lay bare the uncertainties and disappointments of ordinary people living ordinary lives.

Dorothy Parker's quips and light verse have become part of the American literary landscape, but, as this new collection of her complete short stories demonstrates, Parker's talents extended far beyond brash one-liners and clever rhymes. Many of the stories, originally written for magazines, have never been collected before.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Perhaps it was a disservice to collect all of Parker's stories in one place. Despite insistence to the contrary in a reasoned but ultimately unconvincing introduction by Regina Barreca, Parker wrote decently about the same things over and over and over. This volume includes 13 stories and nine sketches which were previously uncollected, but they blend right in with the other material on drinking and divorce among those of a certain class. Parker's stories tend to float in the shallow end of the literary pool. It's not that any individual piece is of poor quality, it's just that, collectively, the the sameness becomes unbearable. Her humor, in particular, strikes the same note every time. A quick run-through of several plots exhibits this perfectly: two women insincerely discuss an impending divorce; a couple gets drunk in preparation for becoming teetotalers the next day. The nine sketches included here are more of the same, minus any actual plot. Descriptions such as ``Lloyd wears washable neckties,'' are amusing, but go no further. It is ironic that feminist critics are attempting to resurrect Parker, since her writing makes her disdain for her own sex perfectly clear: she feels free to disparage these women for whom marriage and dinner parties are everything, but she always goes for the easy laugh at their expense rather than explore the larger context that forced them into such rigid roles. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Now remembered almost soley as the lone female member of the New York writers' group known as the Algonquin Round Table, Parker was one of the most popular and published writers of the interwar years whose stories and light verse were eagerly sought by the best magazines. Although widely represented in short story anthologies, Parker's entire corpus of stories has never been collected in a single volume: editor Breese includes 13 stories and nine "sketches" not previously anthologized. Read as a collection, however, the famous sardonic wit becomes too intrusive, and similarities of plot and character are annoyingly apparent. Reliance on heavy social drinking as a staple of her plots is less humorous to Nineties readers, and some of Parker's ideas on the relationship between the sexes are equally dated. Still, many of the stories, such as the often reprinted "Big Blonde," are moving, and the whole volume is an unsettling portrait of the era. For all fiction and research collections.-Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142437216
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/17/2002
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 331,592
  • Product dimensions: 5.11 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy Parker was born in West End, New Jersey, in 1893 and grew up in New York, attending a Catholic convent school and Miss Dana's School in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1916 she sold some of her poetry to the editor of Vogue, and was subsequently given an editorial position on the magazine, writing captions for fashion photographs and drawings. She then became drama critic of Vanity Fair and the central figure of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table.

Famous for her spoken wit, she showed the same trenchant commentary in her book reviews for The New Yorker and Esquire and in her poems and sketches. Her collection of poems included Not So Deep as a Well and Enough Rope, which became a bestseller; and her collections of stories included Here Lies. She also collaborated with Elmer Rice on a play, Close Harmony and with Arnaud d'Usseau on the play the Ladies of the Corridor. She herself had two Broadway plays written about her and was portrayed as a character in a third. Her cynicism and the concentration of her judgements were famous and she has been closely associated with modern urbane humour.

Her first husband was Edwin Pond Parker II, and although they were divorced some years later, she continued to use his name, which she much preferred to her own of Rothschild. Her second husband was an actor-writer Alan Campbell. They went to Hollywood as a writing team and went through a tempestuous marriage until his death in 1963, when Dorothy Parker returned to New York. She died in 1967.

Regina Barreca is a professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut. She is the editor of seven books, including The Penguin Book of Women's Humor, and the author of four others. She writes frequently for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Hartford Courant.

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Table of Contents

Complete Stories Introduction Suggestions for Further Reading Chronology A Note on the Text

Stories
Such a Pretty Little Picture Too Bad Mr. Durant A Certain Lady The Wonderful Old Gentleman Dialogue at Three in the Morning The Last Tea Oh! He's Charming!
Travelogue Little Curtis The Sexes Arrangement in Black and White A Telephone Call A Terrible Day Tomorrow Just a Little One The Mantle of Whistler The Garter New York to Detroit Big Blonde You Were Perfectly Fine The Cradle of Civilization But the One on the Right Here We Are Lady with a Lamp Dusk Before Fireworks A Young Woman in Green Lace Horsie Advice to the Little Peyton Girl From the Diary of a New York Lady Sentiment Mrs. Carrington and Mrs. Crane The Little Hours The Waltz The Road Home Glory in the Daytime Cousin Larry Mrs. Hofstadter on Josephine Street Clothe the Naked Soldiers of the Republic The Custard Heart Song of the Shirt, 1941
The Standard of Living The Lovely Leave The Game I Live on Your Visits Lolita The Banquet of Crow The Bolt Behind the Blue

Sketches
Our Tuesday Club As the Spirit Moves A Dinner Party Anthology A Summer Hotel Anthology An Apartment House Anthology Men I'm Not Married To Welcome Home Our Own Crowd Professional Youth

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Samples

    Thank you once again for providing a sample that provides no content by the author that appears on the cover. I'm not interested in reading introductions by critics or academics that want to attach their name to someone who is accomplished. Cut the introduction and provide a few pages from the talent.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2004

    Wonderful short story collection

    What most impresses me about this comprehensive collection of Dorothy Parker's short fiction are the lesser known works. Although Parker remains famous for her wit (much of which surfaced in reviews, essays and poetry not featured in this book), many of her stories are quite dark and not intended to be funny at all. Her best known stories, such as 'Big Blonde,' 'A Telephone Call' and 'The Lovely Leave,' don't rank among my favorites here. I preferred her humorous 'sketches,' such as 'Our Tuesday Club,' which are assemblages of truly hysterical character studies. The pieces are presented in chronological order and also give you a taste of urban American life from Prohibition into the 1950s.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Buy this

    I can only describe this collection as F*ing awesome.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2007

    AMAZING!

    I think Dorothy Parker is amazing. She writes how she feels and this book gives you so much knowledge on herself and her personality. So i recommend it .

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 29, 2011

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    Posted December 3, 2008

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted July 31, 2009

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    Posted February 18, 2011

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