Dorothy Parker

1893 - 1967

Playwright, poetess remembered for her wit.

Dorothy Parker is remembered for her wit. Wit can be put to any number of uses - for her, it was peculiarly functional. She was a member of a circle (a Round Table, in fact, which would convne sporadically at the Algoquin Hotel in New York) whose members made a living from their wits. The cheques for Parker's came first from Vogue, then from Vanity Fair, where, often under pseudonym of Constant Reader, she became renowned for her damning reviews of plays and books - Sinclair Lewis, in particular, came in for brutal drubbings.
But money was not the only object. She had to survive mentally as well. She was the only woman of this circle (Edna Ferber would pop in, but even she was too gushy for Parker) and was often stigamtised for wanting to be a man. She later confessed that if the age had demanded cuteness, she would have been cute. But she was the harshest of them all. It is hard to smile at a Parker quip without simultaneously pitying its victim.
Ultimately Parker has a strong claim on our sympathies. Even in her comic verse (which she refused to call poems), she addresses the issue of suicide and the fallibility of relationships. The latter theme came to characterise her short stories. If the public manifestation of failed romances and a disturbed childhood was well-worded impatience, their private expressions were worse amorous entanglements , alcoholism, drug abuse and several suicide attempts. She survived these, too, but remained constantly aware that some things are not proper subjects for humour.


biography eassy on dorothy parker -- mla formet

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