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Dorothy Parker Biography

(1893–1967), Vogue, Vanity Fair, Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death and Taxes

American writer, born in West End, New Jersey and raised in New York City. After an education in convents and exclusive girls' schools, she worked for a procession of the most famous magazines, publishing poems in Vogue in 1916, and becoming the drama critic for Vanity Fair in 1917. She married Edwin Parker, whose surname she kept after their divorce. She achieved fame among New York society circles for her sharp observation and wit; her first book, a collection of poems entitled Enough Rope (1926), was a bestseller. This was later reissued with Sunset Gun (1928) and Death and Taxes (1931), as Not so Deep as a Well (1936), which enhanced her reputation through a display of self-mockery, humour, and acerbic wit. Her later work as a literary and dramatic critic for the New Yorker gave her a near-legendary status. Her short stories and sketches were collected in Laments for the Living (1930), After Such Pleasures (1933), and Here Lies (1939). An active antifascist before the Second World War, she also worked as a newspaper correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and was a leading member of the Anti-Nazi League. In 1933 she went to Hollywood, and in 1941 wrote the screenplay for Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes. After the war, she worked as a screenwriter and collaborated on a number of plays, among them Ladies of the Corridor (1953). A selection of her writing, The Portable Dorothy Parker (1944), was reissued in an expanded version edited by her close friend Lillian Hellman in 1977.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Cynthia Ozick Biography to Ellis Peters Biography