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The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin…
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The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (original 1944; edition 2006)

by Dorothy Parker, Marion Meade (Editor)

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Member:Aughie
Title:The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
Authors:Dorothy Parker
Other authors:Marion Meade (Editor)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Deluxe, Paperback, 640 pages
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The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker (1944)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I think Parker said it best in, “There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." I think I adore her writing so much because there's so much truth in her wit and the only calisthenics you experience while reading her is unabated laughter. ( )
1 vote lemotamant898 | Jan 18, 2016 |
I think Parker said it best in, “There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." I think I adore her writing so much because there's so much truth in her wit and the only calisthenics you experience while reading her is unabated laughter. ( )
1 vote motavant | Jan 17, 2016 |
Once upon a time I had this idea that one should read a book from start to finish, and if one was being particularly through that included the preface and any appendix. However that technique has often left me hanging in one part of a book (really wishing that I was reading another part, farther in) - and if it's a book of collected stories and poems, it's not really vital that you go in order.

I've also begun reading this book more than once and ended up hopping about and only reading bits and pieces. So this time through - and I do intended to finish the whole of it this time (yes, really) - I went straight for the part I was most interested: the reviews of plays and books and other articles. I only wish there were more of these because Parker is such fun as a reviewer. More than once I've read a bit and laughed in agreement. Such as:

p. 420 "...There's only one thing I could wish about the whole play - I do wish they would do something about those Russian names. Owing to the local Russian custom of calling each person sometimes by all of his names, sometimes by only his first three or four, and sometimes by a nickname which has nothing to do with any of the other names, it is difficult for one with my congenital lowness of brow to gather exactly whom they are talking about. I do wish that as long as they are translating the thing, they would go right ahead, while they're at it, and translate Fedor Vasilyevich Protosov and Sergei Dmitrievich Abreskov and Ivan Petrovich Alexandrov into Joe and Harry and Fred."

--Vanity Fair review of Tolstoy's play Redemption, December 1918

And that nicely sums up why I could never finish The Brothers Karamazov - I made the mistake of putting it down for a day and when I tried to pick it up again I was lost and unable to figure out who was who. I probably would have had to keep a cheat sheet of names to properly keep track, and so gave up and moved on to other books.

Here's a later review, to give you another idea of why I turned to these first. Here Parker confesses to be "a confirmed user of Whodunits":

p. 568 "To me, the raveled sleeve of care is never more painlessly knitted up than in an evening alone in a chair snug yet copious, with a good light and an easily held little volume sloppily printed and bound in inexpensive paper. I do not ask much of it - which is just as well, for that is all I get. It does not matter if I guess the killer, and if I happen to discover, along around page 208, that I have read the work before, I attribute the fact not to the less than arresting powers of the author, but to my own lazy memory. I like best to have one book in my hand, and a stack of others on the floor beside me, so as to know the supply of poppy and mandragora will not run out before the small hours. In all reverence I say Heaven bless the Whodunit, the soothing balm on the wound, the cooling hand on the brow, the opiate of the people."

--Book review Of Ellery Queen: The New York Murders, from Esquire, January 1959

The Parker who writes poetry and short stories almost seems a different person. Reading too many of those pieces makes me feel somewhat depressed - or at least feeling a bit too full of the angst of love and loss, or of really horrible people who seem to pop up regularly in her short stories. I'd enjoy her writing more if I could read it all in chronological order and have the reviews and essays as relief. But I do understand the why of the ordering - the first section is how Parker herself grouped her works, and the later was added after her death.

At least if you read all her reviews last you'll be left with the more lively person who's just shared her thoughts on a play or book. That's the Parker I think I like most.
_________________________

[Here I go off on a tangent. Just noting.] When looking up the word mandragora, wikipedia helpfully pushed me over to the page on mandrake - which seems fair because it probably wasn't the demon or the band. Anyway. Under in pop culture this caught my eye:

"...Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday."

Shakespeare: Othello III.iii

Parker was wonderfully well read, so I can't think this is a coincidence. But that's just my guess, seeing that the use of mandragora probably doesn't pop up all that often. Now of course I should go reread Othello and see about the context of that quote. ( )
  bookishbat | Sep 25, 2013 |
Dorothy Parker is one of my short story idols. Readers who prefer action over rumination may find her stories dull and forgettable, but for the people watchers and neutral cynics, her writing is the cream of the character-driven crop. I can't read too many of them at once, however, because her deadpan descriptions of less-than-perfect people are, while humorous, also pretty depressing. Four stars because the last half of this edition consists of outdated reviews instead of more wit-infused gold. ( )
2 vote tkmarnell | Jan 15, 2012 |
Dorothy Parker is one of those writers I've heard about long before I've actually read their work. The lady definitely lives up to her reputation as a master of language and wit. The picture she paints of early 20th Century New York is fascinating, but her constant theme of irony and heartbreak gets tiresome after a while. So I took my time perusing this 544 page volume of poems and short stories. I'm debating whether to keep it or not. On one hand, I don't see myself pulling it off the shelf too often, but on the other, a short cutting poem might be just the thing to spice up an otherwise drab day.
--J. ( )
  Hamburgerclan | May 12, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Parkerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Farrell, MichaelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gill, BrendanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meade, MarionEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Introduction: The theme of course, is Dorothy Parker.
Introduction: Dorothy Parker's reputation as one of the wittiest women of the twentieth century was made on tart quotes and agile on liners.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Should not be combined with the new Penguin Deluxe edition -- apart from the first section, they have very different content!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039539, Paperback)


The second revision in sixty years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors.

For this new twenty-first-century edition, devoted admirers can be sure to find their favorite verse and stories. But a variety of fresh material has also been added to create a fuller, more authentic picture of her life's work. There are some stories new to the Portable, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. Two of these pieces concern home decorating, a subject not usually associated with Mrs. Parker. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings-racial, labor, international-and so "Soldiers of the Republic" is joined by reprints of "Not Enough" and "Sophisticated Poetry-And the Hell With It," both of which first appeared in New Masses. "A Dorothy Parker Sampler" blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down.

The introduction of two new sections is intended to provide the richest possible sense of Parker herself. "Self-Portrait" reprints an interview she did in 1956 with The Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ("Writers at Work") that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies.

"Letters: 1905-1962," which might be subtitled "Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored," presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.

A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps, rough front, and luxurious packaging
Features an introduction from Marion Meade and cover illustrations by renowned graphic artist Seth, creator of the comic series Palooka-ville

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:37 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The second revision in sixty years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors. There are some stories new to the Portable, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings ? racial, labor, international ? and so "Soldiers of the Republic" is joined by reprints of "Not Enough" and "Sophisticated Poetry ? And the Hell With It," both of which first appeared in New Masses. "A Dorothy Parker Sampler" blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down. "Self-Portrait" reprints an interview she did in 1956 with the Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ("Writers at Work") that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies. "Letters: 1905-1962," which might be subtitled "Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored," presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039539, 014118258X

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