Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

[Whenever I feel down, I turn to the the Algonquin Wits, and especially one of its most brilliant, albeit self-destructive, members, the late, great Dorothy Parker. I want to annotate this quote with something few people know about Mrs. Parker: she was a dedicated civil rights activist who greatly respected Martin Luther King, Jr.; indeed, she she left her estate in its entirety to him.]

“American writer of short stories, verse, and criticism. Parker was noted for her caustic wit, as a drama critic for Vanity Fair and later a book reviewer for The New Yorker, and she became one of the luminaries of the Algonquin Round Table. Her works in verse are equally sardonic, usually dry, elegant commentaries on departing or departed love. The collection Enough Rope (1926), contains the much quoted ‘Resume’ on suicide, and ‘News Item,’ about women who wear glasses. Her short stories, which were collected in After Such Pleasures (1932) and Here Lies (1939), are as imbued with a knowledge of human nature as they are deep in disenchantment; among the best known are ‘A Big Blonde’ and ‘A Telephone Call.’”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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