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Dorothy Parker (1) [1893–1967]

This page covers the author of The Portable Dorothy Parker [1973 Deluxe Edition].

For other authors named Dorothy Parker, see the disambiguation page.

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Poet and short story writer Dorothy Parker was born in New Jersey on August 22, 1893. When she was 5, her mother died and her father, a clothes salesman, remarried. Parker had a great antipathy toward her stepmother and refused to speak to her. She attended parochial school and Miss Dana's school in Morristown, New Jersey, for a brief time before dropping out at age 14. A voracious reader, she decided to pursue a career in literature. She began her career by writing verse as well as captions for a fashion magazine. During the years of her greatest fame, Dorothy Parker was known primarily as a writer of light verse, an essential member of the Algonquin Round Table, and a caustic and witty critic of literature and society. She is remembered now as an almost legendary figure of the 1920s and 1930s. Her reviews and staff contributions to three of the most sophisticated magazines of this century, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Esquire, were notable for their put-downs. For all her highbrow wit, however, Dorothy Parker was liberal, even radical, in her political views, and the hard veneer of brittle toughness that she showed to the world was often a shield for frustrated idealism and soft sensibilities. The best of her fiction is marked by a balance of ironic detachment and sympathetic compassion, as in "Big Blonde," which won the O. Henry Award for 1929 and is still her best-remembered and most frequently anthologized story. The best of Dorothy Parker is readily and compactly accessible in The Portable Dorothy Parker. Her own selection of stories and verse for the original edition of that compilation, published in 1944, remains intact in the revised edition, but included also are additional stories, reviews, and articles. Parker died of a heart attack at the age of 73 in 1967. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. foundation. Following King's death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from The Portable Dorothy Parker [1973 Deluxe Edition]
… (more)
Complete Stories 930 copies, 13 reviews
The Portable Dorothy Parker (Author) 480 copies, 4 reviews
The Best of Dorothy Parker 342 copies, 4 reviews
Complete Poems 288 copies, 5 reviews
The Collected Dorothy Parker 245 copies, 1 review
Big Blonde and Other Stories 177 copies, 1 review
Enough Rope 174 copies, 5 reviews
Laments for the Living 139 copies, 3 reviews
Dorothy Parker Stories 116 copies, 3 reviews
After Such Pleasures 113 copies, 4 reviews
Sunset Gun 109 copies, 4 reviews
Death and taxes 86 copies, 3 reviews
Saboteur [1942 film] (Screenwriter) 78 copies, 4 reviews
Constant Reader 61 copies, 2 reviews
A Star Is Born [1937 film] (Screenwriter) 51 copies, 1 review
The Ladies of the Corridor 50 copies, 1 review
Candide: A Comic Operetta (Lyricist) 50 copies, 1 review
The Custard Heart 47 copies, 1 review
The Little Foxes [1941 film] (Screenwriter) 44 copies, 1 review
The Uncollected Dorothy Parker 40 copies, 1 review
Here We Are 26 copies
La vie à deux 21 copies
Je was geweldig 13 copies
Comme une valse 12 copies
Cor de crema 7 copies
Here We Are {play} 2 copies, 1 review
The Last Tea 2 copies
At Her Best 2 copies
Little Curtis 2 copies
The Fan [1949 film] (Writer) 1 copy
Trade Winds [1938 film] (Screenwriter) 1 copy
Suzy [1936 film] (Screenwriter) 1 copy
Horsie 1 copy
Lolita 1 copy
Contos de Dorothy Parker 1 copy, 1 review
The Waltz 1 copy
Mr. Durant 1 copy
Sentiment 1 copy
Too Bad 1 copy
The Best American Short Stories of the Century (Contributor) 1,455 copies, 9 reviews
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules (Contributor) 1,149 copies, 15 reviews
50 Great Short Stories (Contributor) 1,055 copies, 8 reviews
Most of the Most of S. J. Perelman (Foreword, some editions) 485 copies, 5 reviews
Fifty Great American Short Stories (Contributor) 380 copies, 3 reviews
Points of View: Revised Edition (Contributor) 379 copies, 6 reviews
A Subtreasury of American Humor (Contributor) 253 copies, 2 reviews
24 Favorite One Act Plays (Contributor) 240 copies, 1 review
Short Stories from The New Yorker, 1925 to 1940 (Contributor) 185 copies, 1 review
Twenty Grand Short Stories (Contributor) 140 copies, 1 review
The Norton Book of Personal Essays (Contributor) 131 copies, 1 review
American Wits: An Anthology of Light Verse (Contributor) 123 copies, 3 reviews
The Penguin Book of Women's Humour (Contributor) 106 copies
The Virago Book of Wicked Verse (Contributor) 77 copies, 1 review
Stories from The New Yorker, 1950 to 1960 (Contributor) 68 copies, 2 reviews
The Folio Book of Comic Short Stories (Contributor) 65 copies, 1 review
American Christmas Stories (Contributor) 38 copies
The Virago Book of Wanderlust and Dreams (Contributor) 34 copies, 1 review
Mothers and Daughters: An Anthology (Contributor) 29 copies, 1 review
An American Omnibus (Contributor) 29 copies
Nonsenseorship (Contributor) 12 copies
Something's Going On (Songwriter) 9 copies
Teen-Age Treasury for Girls (Contributor) 5 copies, 1 review
Strange Barriers (Contributor) 2 copies
Bedside Bedlam (Quick Reader 137) (Contributor) 2 copies
Save Your Love for Me (Songwriter) 1 copy
Schöne Ferien (Contributor) 1 copy

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Dorothy Parker, née Rothschild, was born in the West End section of Long Branch, New Jersey, to J. Henry and Elizabeth Rothschild. Her mother died when she was four years old and she had an unhappy childhood. She attended a Catholic grammar school and a finishing school in Morristown, NJ, and her formal education ended when she was 14.

In 1914, she sold her first poem to Vanity Fair. At age 22, she took an editorial job at Vogue, and continued to write poems for newspapers and magazines. In 1917, she joined Vanity Fair, taking over from P.G. Wodehouse as drama critic. At the time, she was the first female critic on Broadway. That same year, she married Edwin P. Parker, a stockbroker, but the marriage was tempestuous, and the couple divorced in 1928.

She became known for her witty writing and conversational repartee, and her wisecrack remarks are still widely repeated. In 1919, she became a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, the informal gathering of writers who lunched at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The group included Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman, Harold Ross, and Edna Ferber. In 1922, Parker published her first short story, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," for Smart Set.

Over the years, she contributed poetry, fiction and book reviews as the "Constant Reader" columnist. Her first collection of poems, Enough Rope, was published in 1926, and was a bestseller. Her two subsequent collections were Sunset Gun (1928) and Death and Taxes (1931). Her collected fiction was issued in 1930 as Laments for the Living.

During the 1920s, she traveled to Europe several times and befriended Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. She contributed articles and short fiction to The New Yorker and Life. While her work was successful, she suffered from depression and alcoholism, and attempted suicide.

In 1929, she won the O. Henry Award for her short story "Big Blonde." In 1934, Parker married actor-writer Alan Campbell and the couple relocated to Los Angeles, where they became a highly-paid script writing team. They worked for MGM and Paramount and received an Academy Award nomination for A Star Is Born in 1937. They divorced in 1947, and remarried in 1950, but their relationship deteriorated.
She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1959 and was a visiting professor at California State College in Los Angeles in 1963. That year, she found Alan Parker dead of an apparent suicide. She returned to Manhattan and lived in the Volney Hotel on the Upper East Side for the last 15 years of her life. An ardent supporter of civil rights, she bequeathed her literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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