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Parker, Dorothy


(US, 1893–1967)

At 23 Dorothy Parker was hired by the fashion magazine Vogue as a caption writer. Very quickly her bright talent as a penetrating observer and wickedly comic satirist put her at the centre of New York intellectual society. She became as famous for her acerbic wit, often quoted, at the Algonquin Hotel Round Table ('With my crown of thorns, why do I need a prick like you?') as for her literary output. Her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope (1926), was a best-seller, and she wrote some superb short stories. ‘The Lovely Leave’, ‘A Telephone Call’, and ‘Big Blonde’ (collected in The Penguin Dorothy Parker) lay bare with lacerating honesty how women suffer and (sometimes) survive in relationships, from the bittersweet yearning of young love to the anguish of the spurned older woman. And her wit and wisecracks still have a diamond sparkle—even such trifles as ‘Men seldom make passes | At girls who wear glasses’. It's that ‘seldom’ that makes her a poet.

Anita Loos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nathanael West  TH

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