They kicked open the door for twentieth-century female writers and set a new model for every woman trying to juggle the serious issues of economic independence, political power, and sexual freedom. In a style and tone that perfectly captures the jazzy rhythms and tragic sense of impending doom that defined the era, Meade tells the individual stories of Parker, Fitzgerald, Millay, and Ferber, traces the intersections of their lives, and describes the men — including F.
Hardcover, publisher Nan A. We are very excited about another new Parker book for the bookshelves; stay tuned to the site for more information. Click here for all information. Hope you can make it! We got a message from Kerry Gilmartin about Miss Dana's School, which was the finishing school young Dottie was sent to as a young girl. The location is Fosterfields , former home to Caroline Foster, a famous suffragette whose father once owned the farmland. There will be a reception on Saturday, August 16th at Fosterfields' visitors center from 1 to 3 pm to open the exhibit which will run until early December.
Phone number is Fosterfields and Park information. And good news, the Algonquin Hotel is giving discounts for rooms for the weekend, Aug. After seeing her on Broadway in The Lake , Mrs. See June 12 below for the bigger story. The news for Penguin Putnam isn't good: No US publisher in living memory ie, since at least has been ordered by a court to remove a book from public release. No US publisher in living memory also since at least has photocopied and published material that it knew had been copyrighted.
That is, until U. District Court Judge John F. Scribner, , which Stuart Silverstein compiled, even though Penguin knew at the time that he had copyrighted it; and 2 As Penguin had infringed upon his copyright when it did so, its book "Dorothy Parker: Complete Poems," must be removed--recalled--from public release within twenty days, that is, by July 1, Judge Keenan also ordered Penguin to purchase an advertisement in Publishers Weekly to announce the recall.
The advertisement appears of page 89 of this week's issue June 30, cover date. The New York Sun. Dottie dated a badboy reporter here in June 12, Parkerfest is Aug. Reservations will be required for the lunch at the Gonk, jazz booze cruise around New York Harbor, and the Walking Tour.
The Speakeasy Night is cash bar. Keep checking the site for updates. Thanks to the New York Sun last week for the nice plug. The Complete Poems Penguin , hold onto it. Because that book is about to become very scarce. In a summary judgement handed down, click here to read the PDF file , a federal judge told Penguin to pull it off the shelves. We've been tracking this since Today we sent 5 questions to Stuart Y. Judge Keenan issued an order which enforces his April 4 ruling that Penguin infringed on my copyright. Complete Poems to "request" — that is, demand — the return of all unsold copies to Penguin, at Penguin's expense.
Judge Keenan also ordered Penguin to advertise the same message in Publishers Weekly , and to store the recalled books securely so they cannot inadvertently be redistributed. And Judge Keenan rejected Penguin's request that he "stay," that is, delay the execution of, his ruling.
As he put it: Why is this significant? Nothing of this sort has occurred in publishing in decades. Even the head of Penguin USA admitted under oath that in her twenty years' experience she had never heard of a publisher being forced to recall a book. Have the copies of Complete Poems already disappeared? There's no denying that she could be self-centered and melodramatic.
Add to this her inability to manage money and to make enough to support herself on her writing - not counting her Hollywood scriptwriting days. In fact it was that scriptwriting and the many causes she gave time to that probably kept her from producing more of her own writing. You don't need to have read all or even a great deal of Parker's writing to find this book interesting. Though it will make you want to read more, and I recommend this. The woman definitely did not lead a dull life. You will have to read about suicide attempts, abortion, miscarriage, and many, many depressions.
And lots of drinking. That was one of the side effects of Prohibition - lots of alcoholism. Everyone drank a lot, but the ones who made a career of it and survived were frightening. Do I like Parker any less now that I know a bit more about how unlikeable she could be? I mean, I wouldn't want to live with the woman, that's for sure, but I still appreciate her writing, and really love her reviews of books and plays. There seem to be a large number of very creative people, many of them writers, who I feel the same about, once I read a really detailed biography.
Especially one that gives you a lot of the facts, whether they make the subject look good or not. I'd actually rather have the whole of the person's history rather than the "edited to make the subject look good" type. I also have to empathize with how much of her time was spent in wanting to write, yet procrastinating, yet hating that and wishing the writing was done, and yet hating to get around to writing. And she was a severe critic of herself, and would revise and rewrite constantly.
A vicious cycle that reminds me of churning out work in graduate school. Sometimes it's good to be reminded that there is a lot of work done to produce even a little writing. Really thorough endnotes on each chapter with citations, many of them interviews. Lots of evidence of research here.
- Behold the Fountain of Youth.
- Il maestro (Italian Edition).
- Oscar and Bear.
- Dawn [with Biographical Introduction].
Well worth reading the notes for the occasional extra story and the cited books to track down. They really will have to change future endnotes by page number - this does NOT work for ebook readers. It would take me forever to figure out where a numerical page is located unless I track down the paper book.
Whenever I add this many quotes? You know I'm an engaged reader. This biography was written with the cooperation of Lel Droste Iveson, Dorothy Parker's niece, who generously shared with me memories of her aunt an details of the family's history, as well as Parker's childhood letters, verse, and a scrapbook-photo album compiled over the course of many years.
So the first take away, even before starting the book, is that Parker didn't make it easy for her biographers. This is also just the kind of information I appreciate a biographer passing along, both because it allows the reader an idea of how much work was done behind the scenes, and because it gives you a better idea of what references were used than just a written bibliography.
From Parker's job at Vogue writing captions for photos: When she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she wore this divine nightdress of rose-colored mousseline de soie, trimmed with frothy Valenciennes lace. Only at the last moment, in proofs, did someone catch and exterminate the subversive caption. That was around - and what a long way our magazines have come in terms of content After skewering half a dozen men with the collective appeal of a dish of boiled turnips, she went on to present a final portrait, one of special interest because he was the only man to merit her praise.
He was utterly confectionery, "an English-tailored Greek God, just masterful enough to be entertaining, just wicked enough to be exciting, just clever enough to be a good audience. Parker developing her writing style: The formula, subsequently summed up by Robert Benchley as the Elevated Eyebrow School of Journalism, was by no means simple to master.
You could write about practically any subject you wished, no matter how outrageous, so long as you said it in evening clothes. It took Dorothy only a few months to get the hang of Crownie's [ Frank Crowninshield ] style. Then she spent the next decade trying to unlearn it.
Women: A Hate Song
In her verse as in her fiction, she always wrote about herself or else drew portraits of people she knew, describing them so vividly that everyone in her circle knew exactly to whom she was referring. She was almost incapable of doing purely imagined characters or situations This may be why I've always had a really hard time reading Parker's short stories - there are parts of them that feel very painfully real, and you do feel that the author has somehow experienced them.
And when I say painful I mean that in the way of emotional pain. I can only remember one or two stories of hers that were amusing - most were depressing. Which is why I love Parker's theater and book reviews so much more. When she insisted that it took her six months to complete a story, it was often the case. Instead of making a first draft, she thought out each paragraph beforehand and then laboriously wrote it down in longhand sentence by sentence. She may have been careless about many aspects living, but she was obsessively careful, a perfectionist, in her writing.
Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? Summary & Study Guide
Nothing pleased her and she couldn't "write five words but that I change seven. I'll set aside various books sometimes, to pickup and read later. But I am really enjoying this biography, just want to be able to sit and read it uninterrupted, and the time is not right for that. Another thing keeping me from reading this quickly - things in the text that are referred to that I have to go look up.
And, thanks to the wonder of YouTube, Parker's close friend Robert Benchley 's films from the s are online: Those who later claimed that Alan [Campbell] rode on Dorothy's coattails in Hollywood could not have been more mistaken In Hollywood from the start he showed himself to be a dogged worker determined to master a new craft.
His strength turned out to be construction. He would first block out a scene, then labor to pull it together on paper so that Dorothy could follow along and inject amusing dialog. Without her, Alan's scenes would have fallen flat, but without him there would have been no scene. As a team they were a perfect complement. Well, at this point anyway. As with so many of Lillian Hellman 's memories, this simply was not true.
Dorothy was not among those who received a pink slip in , nor was she summoned as a witness in the HUAC hearings during the early fifties, because the government must have known that it had a weak case. Dorothy herself made two rather emphatic statements on the subject. Fourteen years later, she denied having ever been a party member, although it is easy to understand that the circumstances under which she made the statement might have warranted the stretching of the truth.
Meade provides information on what the FBI had in its files about her - and it states that others said she was a party member, but there was no proof. So it seems a near miss for her, in light of how many other writers' careers were ruined. And I spoke too soon.
Unable to find work as a screenwriter, she paid dearly for her transgressions, real or invented, but she never called attention to her plight, never singled herself out as exception or in any way worthy of admiration. She was called to testify - but not at HUAC. Instead a local NY legislative committee investigating fundraising by the Communist Party, because it was alleged that one of her fund raising groups was a front. She took the fifth when asked if she was ever a party member. Randomly here're some modern photos and an older one of the Pennsylvania home Dorothy and Alan bought. Another reminder of why the book is sometimes hard for me to read - Parker is often depressed.
And not mildly so. One day, she looked out the window and told Alan they would have to move immediately because there was "a suicide light" rippling on the hill behind the house. They hastened back to the Garden of Allah , where the light did not make her think that it might be refreshing to be dead. It's really sad to me that Parker did so much fund raising work for among other things the Spanish Civil War, to help the Spanish Republicans who were fighting the fascists for ambulances, milk for children, etc.
Not a lot of attention was or is paid to this war in the US, and Parker was always very quiet about her work in this sort of thing. People were always very dismissive of her causes, and many insisted she didn't care about anyone but herself. Which I can't buy after reading about how much time she devoted to such charity work. Marc Connelly , after years of frustration over his unrequited love for Margalo Gillmore , finally married a Mack Sennet bathing beauty, Madeline Hurlock , only to watch her fall in love with one of his best friends Robert Sherwood , who himself had been trapped in a turbulent sadomasochistic marriage with Mary Brandon.
I would bet that most people don't know this about Parker. As his [Oscar Bernstien,the lawyer drawing up the will] widow, Rebecca, said, "He understood completely what she had in mind. It seemed natural because she had no heirs, and racial injustice had always affected her very deeply. And you said it, when you wrote: Maybe most of us are and some negotiate cease fires occasionally, which seldom last. All the digs she took at people, friend and foe alike, were really digs at herself View all 7 comments.
I was rather disappointed in this biography of the fabulous Dorothy Parker, frankly. Toward the last third of the book I felt that I was forcing myself to continue. And the most disappointing thing about this book is that the author failed to include a bibliography of the books and magazines she'd used in her research. I always go through bibliographies and write down the books that sound interesting, so this wasn't a pleasant discovery.
Meade's style is rather jumpy, and I found a lot of repetit I was rather disappointed in this biography of the fabulous Dorothy Parker, frankly. Meade's style is rather jumpy, and I found a lot of repetition of facts and details throughout the book. There was amateurish psychological speculations, such as blaming Parker's alcoholism on her childhood and her chaotic lifestyle on her inability to manage her thoughts and her life. On the positive side, though, there were some very interesting stories about Parker from her Vicious Circle friends, and from others outside the Circle, such as Lillian Hellman who doesn't come off very well in this book at all - apparently she was irritated that Parker had bequeathed her estate to Martin Luther King, Jr.
I would like to have been better able to follow Meade on her road through Parker's life, but it was difficult to stay hooked in after a while. There's also a great deal of emphasis on the sadness and loneliness of Parker's life which was depressing to me as well. The book is organized in groups of years, which is a good way to set things up. This makes it easy to keep track of what's happening in Parker's life as her life goes by. I can't really say this was an excellent biography, and I think I'll be looking for others to help me through my self-assigned Dorothy Parker reading project.
Nov 06, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: What an interesting person Dorothy Parker was. Incredibly smart with a sharp wit that made her a success with any group she was with. She wrote poetry, short stories, and screenplays, but she was best known as a literary and stage critic for magazines and newspapers in New York. She was a founding member of the famous Algonquin Round Table. I imagine that she would be one of those people, having met, you would never forget, whether for good or bad. They were contemporaries, they each struggled with personal issues that led them to attempt suicide at some point, and each contributed considerably to the literary history of the 20th century.
Marion Meade's writing and Parker's powerful personality make this a very interesting read. This was OK, I guess. It was quite interesting finding out what sort of person Dorothy Parker was and where she was from, and it was well-written enough. But the writer's magaziney style grated sometimes. And a lot of the time she just seemed to be making stuff up! I don't think the main character of Big Blonde is based on Parker -- I mean, yes, I'm sure Parker experienced some of what she put into the story, but I'm suspicious of attempts to turn people's fiction into sekrit biographies of them This was OK, I guess.
I don't think the main character of Big Blonde is based on Parker -- I mean, yes, I'm sure Parker experienced some of what she put into the story, but I'm suspicious of attempts to turn people's fiction into sekrit biographies of themselves. Fiction writers wouldn't write fiction if they couldn't, y'know, make shit up. If anything Parker is more the kind of writer to make stuff up for effect even when she's supposed to be writing non-fiction, than the kind of writer who puts a lot of True Stuff into their fiction. Things I didn't know - Dorothy Parker liked dogs - She left her money to the NAACP - She was Jewish - She was married three times Things I could have guessed - She wasn't good with money - She hated writing and found it incredibly difficult - She was one of those women who hated being considered like a woman On a tangent, find it depressing that Dorothy Parker is relatively obscure -- now probably known more as a writer of light verse about girl-stuff than anything else -- and the dudes she knew are Shining Lights of American literature.
Feb 14, Todd Jenkins rated it liked it Recommends it for: I know so many women today who would feel right at home with Dorothy Parker but have probably never heard of her. This book is a respectable perhaps too much so biography of one of America's greatest women of letters. Deeply flawed in many ways, from her alcoholism to her choices in men, Parker masked it all with a rapier wit that redefined a woman's role in literature. Alternately hilarious and nasty, she presented a new feminine face that had rarely been seen in society prior to her emergenc I know so many women today who would feel right at home with Dorothy Parker but have probably never heard of her.
Alternately hilarious and nasty, she presented a new feminine face that had rarely been seen in society prior to her emergence. At times Meade's book is long on details and short on "oomph". It seems as if she didn't wish to step too comfortably into Parker's shoes, when a more sympathetic approach would have conveyed more of the writer's acerbic personality.
Still, the book works well as an introduction to the American wonder that was Dorothy Parker, and should inspire readers to dig more deeply into the written canon on her life. Jun 22, Siria rated it it was ok Shelves: A somewhat anecdotal, pedestrian account of what was undoubtedly a fascinating life. I did learn quite a bit about Parker—previously I'd known little more than that she'd coined the phrase 'Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses'—such as the fact that she had a fractious relationship with Hemingway, or that she willed all her estate to the NAACP. All of that made me think that she deserved a much more intelligent biographer—Meade was far too given to hamfisted armchair psychologising.
Feb 22, Sarah rated it did not like it Shelves: I didn't even quite make it all the way through this one, because Meade irritated me so much. She relied far too much on hearsay and opinion, and could definitely have spent a lot more time doing some fact checking. On top of that, her style was pedantic and generally unimpressive. Aug 25, Tracey rated it it was ok.
Not the best biography for such an enigmatic woman. In the hands of a more experienced writer, it might have been different. Dec 13, Marieke rated it really liked it Shelves: It's just not quite up there with Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay for me. I feel somewhat badly saying that, because Meade mentions in her biography of Dorothy Parker that Mrs. Parker as Dorothy liked to be known often struggled with feeling second to Edna Millay.
With her great pacing and choice of anecdotes, Marion Meade does an excellent job revealing just what a complex person Mrs. Parker was--an alcoholic who had abominable self-care skills and a rat 4. Parker was--an alcoholic who had abominable self-care skills and a rather abusive personality.
Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? Summary & Study Guide
I alternated between feeling like "yes! She had terrible work habits and she hated writing. In many ways i think she was an accidental writer and celebrity. The most surprising thing for me was discovering how many screenplays she wrote or collaborated on. Yet it makes perfect sense--her real gift was in the dialogues she wrote in her short stories. So scriptwriting must have come somewhat naturally to her, even if she hated to write. I've jotted down the names of the films that actually got produced and will be tracking them down in the hopes of having my own little Dorothy Parker filmfest.
View all 3 comments. Jan 13, Misty rated it it was amazing. Apr 09, Kirsten lush. One of my favorite curmudgeons - the title refers to her response every time the phone or doorbell rang, must confess I know that feeling! Sep 20, Lynette rated it it was ok. I felt it was decidedly dry. For such a character, it was dull. I was not familiar with Dorothy Parker until I saw the film, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle many years ago ? Her character, as portrayed by Jennifer Jason Leigh, intrigued me. The little poems that Leigh read throughout the film were clever, witty and given my woeful marital situation at the time rather poignant.
I was intrigued, not only by Parker, but by the whole Bohemian of sorts scene that was the Algonquin Round Table. This was, of course, before the internet became much of a I was not familiar with Dorothy Parker until I saw the film, Mrs. This was, of course, before the internet became much of a thing; Amazon. I checked local bookstores in East Lansing for her books but found nothing. I moved on to other things but, of course, kept Mrs. Parker filed away for later reference. So, here it is thirty or more years later that I finally get around to reading her biography.