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Dorothy Parker: In Her Own Words

Overview

Despite her prolific output, ageless writer and wit Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) never penned an autobiography (although if she had, she said that it would have been titled Mongrel). Combing through her stories, poems, articles, reviews, correspondence, and even her rare journalism and song lyrics, editor Barry Day has selected and arranged passages that describe her life and its preoccupations-urban living, the theater and cinema, the battle of the sexes, and death by dissipation. Best known for her scathing ...
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Overview

Despite her prolific output, ageless writer and wit Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) never penned an autobiography (although if she had, she said that it would have been titled Mongrel). Combing through her stories, poems, articles, reviews, correspondence, and even her rare journalism and song lyrics, editor Barry Day has selected and arranged passages that describe her life and its preoccupations-urban living, the theater and cinema, the battle of the sexes, and death by dissipation. Best known for her scathing pieces for the New Yorker and her membership in the Algonquin Round Table ("The greatest collection of unsaleable wit in America."), Parker filled her work with a unique mix of fearlessness, melancholy, savvy, and hope. In Dorothy Parker, the irrepressible writer addresses: her early career writing for magazines; her championing of social causes such as integration; and the obsession with suicide that became another drama ("Scratch an actor...and you'll find an actress."), literature ("This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.") and much more.
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Editorial Reviews

Post and Courier
Barry Day finds his perfect subject in Dorothy Parker, the pessimistic muse of the wits of the Algonquin Round Table who epitomized the spirit of New York and the 1920s and 1930s.
Press Enterprise
One writer described her as a mixture between Little Nell and Lady Macbeth. Yet the witty Dorothy Parker mostly seemed sad. Her short stories and verse highlight the plight of women who can't fit in, who can't find a mate.
From the Publisher
Day organizes her famous witticisms into a kind of autobiography, walking us through her preoccupations—women and men, love, death, art—in a way that shows us she did indeed bequeath us reminiscence in the form of her own verse, short stories and those marvelous stinging reviews.
Library Journal
In this latest addition to a series of literary autobiographies of sorts (most recently, Sherlock Holmes: In His Own Words and Wodehouse: In His Own Words), Day takes on Dorothy Parker (1893-1967), a writer who, as he notes, had the reputation of being the greatest wit since Oscar Wilde. The author of short stories, verse, criticism, and drama but never an autobiography, she is described as one of the defining literary figures of the first half of the last century and perhaps the most influential writer on being a woman at that time of change. Using quotations from her writings in a variety of genres, Day explores aspects like her career as a writer for film and magazines, membership in the famed roundtable of wits who met at New York City's Algonquin Hotel, relationships with men, love of dogs, flirtation with communism and investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and preoccupation with death. Like Day's earlier series entries, this informative and entertaining volume lacks formal documentation, but it will nicely complement Marion Meade's more substanial Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? Recommended for public libraries. Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589790711
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/15/2004
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 963,086
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Day
Barry Day is the editor of P.G. Wodehouse: In His Own Words and Sherlock Holmes: In His Own Words. He lives in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 "A little Jewish girl trying to be cute" 1
2 "Brevity is the soul of lingerie" 9
3 Inconstant reviewer 19
4 Queen Dorothy and the round table 29
5 Hi-ho-hum society 41
6 The New Yorker and its "constant reader" 53
7 The sexes 71
8 Dogs : a digression 93
9 Writer at work 101
10 "Hooray for Hollywood!" 115
11 "You might as well live" : drink, suicide, and other forms of death and destruction 131
12 Songs and plays : an intermission 141
13 "Rose-colored bifocals" : Parker and politics 161
14 "Did Ernest really like me?" 171
15 Coda : the lady of the corridor 183
16 Envoi : "As Dorothy Parker once said..." 189
Index 195
About the author 203
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