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Book Title: The Portable Dorothy Parker|
The author of the book: Dorothy Parker
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 29.41 MB
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Loaded: 1864 times
Reader ratings: 6.4
Edition: The Viking Press
Date of issue: May 1st 1944
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
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Dorothy Parker, renowned wit, critic, poet and short-story writer. Take note of that order.
Picasso once said of Cézanne that he was 'the father of us all'. Well, in similar terms, Dorothy Parker is my biological mother. Which makes me Picasso I guess, which I'll take.
Parker's book reviews are the finest of the form. She was truly the queen of mean. As 'The Constant Reader' she praised and demolished the latest novels with such wit and grace that oftentimes the review was better than the work is discussed. She often filled her reviews with stories of her personal life or stray observations on society. Despite dying in 1967, her vicious tongue has never been equalled. I view Dorothy Parker as my greatest influence. As many people light candles in front of the Sacred Heart, I follow a similar regime with Parker, muttering incantations in front of her image and never gazing too long into her eyes.
Thus The Portable Dorothy Parker is a volume which I believed would be a fitting replacement for the Holy Book. Which it somewhat is. In that it only gets really good near the end and you spend most of your time skipping over the bad bits.
You see The Portable Dorothy Parker would be better titled The Short Stories of Dorothy Parker, interspersed by her Poetry with a paltry sampling of her Criticism, Reviews, Letters and Interviews.
I am first to admit that I am not a huge fan of Parker's short stories. Don't get me wrong, she had many wonderful stories: Big Blonde, Arrangement in Black and White, The Waltz, From the Diary of a New York Lady and The Game are some shining examples. But almost five-hundred pages of this six-hundred page volume are dedicated to her stories, many of which are just not good. There's a reason why we don't immediately think 'short story writer' when we hear Parker's name.
I feel the term 'hit and miss' was coined specifically for her short fiction. Those that hit are blinding critiques of early-20th century society, full of one-liners and characters which are equally as devastating. The misses are unreadable. Nothing much being written about nothing much. Therefore at time this volume is an absolute pain to get through, whilst at other times you want to rip each page out and frame them along a staircase.
Most of my praise for this volume comes from the measly hundred pages dedicated to her non-fiction. This is where Parker Comes Alive! Such glittering meanness from the mouth of the poison Madonna. It depresses me so much. I'll never be her. The best I can do is plagiarise, which has served me quite well for many years. Sometime during my twenties I'll probably get a Dorothy Parker quote tattooed onto my skin, right next to my stigmata.
Overall The Portable Dorothy Parker is a somewhat skewed collection of her finest writings. There is absolute gold in here, but one must sift through the mud first. Perhaps it is one for the fans.
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Dorothy Parker was an American writer and poet best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.
Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker." Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.
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