The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

In the New York City of the 1920s and 30s, everyone knew of Dorothy Parker. Her stories, poems, and reviews appeared regularly in the New Yorker and other literary publications, and her brand of caustic humor made her eminently quotable. You probably know her poem “News Item”. Its one line, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses” made Parker the heroine of bespectacled women everywhere.

This book collects many of Parker’s short stories, poems, reviews and articles. They span her entire career and many were chosen for the book by her personally when the book was first published in 1944. The library owns the updated 1973 edition. (There has since been a new edition published in 2006.)

In her short stories Parker perfected the inner monologue, a story told entirely in the thoughts of the protagonist. My favorite example is “The Waltz” in which we follow the thoughts of a woman dancing with a particularly graceless partner.

What can you say, when a man asks you to dance with him? I most certainly will not dance with you, I’ll see you in hell first. Why, thank you, I’d like to awfully, but I’m having labor pains. Oh, yes, do let’s dance together — it’s so nice to meet a man who isn’t a scaredy-cat about catching my beri-beri. No. There was nothing for me to do, but say I’d adore to. Well, we might as well get it over with. All right, Cannonball, let’s run out on the field. You won the toss; you can lead.

Not to be missed are the book and play reviews. Parker describes one author’s autobiography as being available in three volumes “suitable for throwing purposes”.  If you haven’t read Dorothy Parker before now, then you are in for a treat.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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