"Tulajdonképpen, most hogy így rákérdezett, az egyetlen dolog, ami nem tetszett a Wimpole Streetben, az a darab."
Dorothy Parker amerikai írónõ
grafika: Erdély Dániel
"In fact, now that you've got me right down to it, the only thing I didn't like about The Wimpole Street was the play."
--------------- About Dorothy Parker ------------------
Biography of Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was one of the most successful and influential women writers of her era. Dorothy Rothschild was born on August 22, 1893 in West End, N.J. Her mother was Scottish and her father Jewish. She was "a late unexpected arrival in a loveless family". At the age of four her mother died. Her father remarried and Dorothy's home life was strained and distant at best. She was educated in private schools in N.J. and N.Y.C. Dorothy suffered two tragedies as a young woman. Her brother Henry died aboard the Titanic and a yearlater her father passed away. Dorothy moved to New York City in 1911 where she lived in a boarding house and worked as a piano player at a dance school. At the age of 21 she began submitting her writing to various magazines and papers. Her poem "Any Porch" was accepted and published by Vanity Fair. A few months later she was hired by Vogue, a sister publication of Vanity Fair. While working at Vogue her submissions to Vanity Fair continued to be published. After two years of working at Vogue she was transferred to Vanity Fair. In 1917 she married Edwin Parker, a stock broker. The marriage only lasted a brief time, but now she was Mrs. Dorothy Parker. At Vanity Fair she became New York's only female drama critic at the time. In the spring of 1919 she was invited to the Algonquin Hotel because of her connections at Vanity Fair and her reputation as a drama critic. This was the beginning of the famous Algonquin Round Table, an renowned intellectual literary circle.Dorothy was the only female founding member. It brought together such writers as Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, James Thurber, George Kaufman and many others. Dorothy was still writing for Vanity Fair but her reviews were becoming increasingly sarcastic and unfavorable. She was fired from the magazine in 1921. To earn money she began writing subtitles for a movie by D.W. Griffith.
Dorothy soon found another job at the magazine Ainslee's where she could be as sarcastic, bitchy, and witty as she pleased. In 1922 she wrote her first short story - "Such a PrettyLittle Picture" - this was the beginning of her literary career. In January of 1924 Dorothy divorced and moved into the Algonquin Hotel. She began writing plays; "Close Harmony" was her first. The first issue of The New Yorker was published in early 1925 and Dorothy contributed drama reviews and poetry for the first few issues. In February of 1926 she set off for Paris, but continued contributing articles to the New Yorker and Life. While in France she befriended Earnest Hemingway; surprisingly, considering his male chauvinist attitudes. Dorothy returned to New York in November. Her first book of poetry, "Enough Rope", was published and received favorable reviews as well ad being a commercial success. In 1927 she became very involved in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial. She traveled to Boston to join the protests against the execution of two innocent men. During the protest she was arrested but refused to travel in the paddy wagon, insisting on walking to jail. She was a committed socialist from this day until her death.
In October Dorothy became the book reviewer for the The New Yorker Magazine, under the title "The Constant Reader". In February of 1929 Dorothy's short story "The Big Blonde" was published and she won the prestigious O. Henry award for the best short story of the year. That same year Dorothy began doing screen writing in Hollywood. She moved to Hollywoodbecause she needed the money and was offered a contract by MGM. Dorothy wrote many screenplays over the next decade. In 1933 she once again traveled to Europe where she met her second husband Alan Campbell. He was also of Scottish-Jewish descent, and a rumored bisexual. They became screen writing partners and signed a contract with Paramount Pictures in 1935. In 1936 she helped found the Anti Nazi League. In 1937 Dorothy won an academy award for her joint screenplay of "A Star is Born".
Throughout the 1940's Dorothy continued writing prose and short stories along with screenplays. She was widely published in many magazines and Viking released an anthology of her short stories and prose. In 1949 she divorced Alan Campbell, but later they remarried.
In the 1950's she was called before the House on un-American Activities and pleaded the first instead of the fifth, still refusing to name any names. In 1952-1953 testimonywas given against her before the HUAC. From 1957-1963 she worked as a book reviewer for Esquire magazine. In 1959 she was inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a distinguished Visiting Professor of English at California State College in L.A. In 1964 she published her final magazine piece in November's issue of Esquire.
On June 7, 1967, she was found dead of a heart attack in her room at Hotel Volney in New York City. She bequeathed her entire literary estate to the NAACP.
Parker, Dorothy. The Portable Dorothy Parker. New York:Viking and Penguin Inc., 1976. 417-575
Arthur F. Kinney Dorothy Parker In Twayne's United States Authors on CD-ROM. New York: G.K. Hall & Co., 1997
Poems by Parker
Enough Rope (1926)
The Small Hours
The False Friends
A Very Short Song
A Well-Worn Story
The Dark Girl's Rhyme
Light of Love
The Satin Dress
Epitaph for a Darling Lady
To a Much Too Unfortunate Lady
The New Love
For a Sad Lady
Story of Mrs. W-
The White Lady
I Know I Have Been Happiest
I Shall Come Back
Portrait of the Artist
Chant for Dark Hours
Now at Liberty
Ballade of a Great Weariness
Verse for a Certain Dog
Song of Perfect Propriety
One Perfect Rose
Ballade at Thirty-Five
The Thin Edge
For an Unknown Lady
Words of Comfort to be Scratched on a Mirror
Faute de Mieux
Song of One of the Girls
A Certain Lady
General Review of the Sex Situation
Pictures on the Smoke
Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom
Neither Bloody nor Bowed
The Burned Child
Sunset Gun (1928)
The Red Dress
Parable for a Certain Virgin
On Cheating the Fiddler
There Was One
The Second Oldest Story
A Pig's-Eye View of Literature
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Alexandre Dumas and His Son
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Walter Savage Landor
The Searched Soul
The Trusting Heart
The Gentlest Lady
The Maid-Servant at the Inn
Thought for a Sunshiny Morning
On Being a Woman
A Dream Lies Dead
The Whistling Girl
For a Favorite Granddaughter
A Fairly Sad Tale
The Last Question
But Not Forgotten
Pour Prendre Conge
For a Lady Who Must Write Verse
Rhyme Against Living
Death and Taxes (1931)
Prayer for a Prayer
After Spanish Proverb
The Danger of Writing Defiant Verse
The Evening Primrose
The Flaw in Paganism
Tombstones in the Starlight
Ornithology for Beginners
The Little Old Lady in Lavender Silk
Sonnet for the End of a Sequence
The Apple Tree
Iseult of Brittany
"Star Light, Star Bright-"
Guinevere at Her Fireside
Lines on Reading Too Many Poets
From a Letter from Lesbia
Purposely Ungrammatical Love Letter
Ballade of Unfortunate Mammals
Prayer for a New Mother
Ninon Lenclos, on Her Last Birthday
Of a Woman, Dead Young
Sonnet on an Alpine Night
Ballade of a Talked-off Ear
Prologue to a Saga
The Lady's Reward
A poet, short-story writer, theater critic
and screenwriter, Dorothy Parker is best remembered for her wit.
Below are a few choice examples:
"It's a small apartment, I've barely enough room to lay my hat
and a few friends."
On learning that Calvin Coolidge was dead she remarked,
"How could they tell?"
"Are you Dorothy Parker?" a guest at a party inquired.
"Yes, do you mind?"
"You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think."
In a book review:
"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.
It should be thrown aside with great force."
In 1925, Harold Ross was struggling to keep The New Yorker
magazine alive with a tiny, inexperienced staff and an
office with one typewriter. Running into Dorothy, Ross said,
"I thought you were coming into the office to write a piece
last week. What happened?"
Dorothy replied, "Somebody was using the pencil."
"I can't write five words but that I change seven."
"Brevity is the soul of lingerie."
"I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under my host!"
In the street once Dorothy approached a taxi.
"I'm engaged," the cabbie said.
"Then be happy," she told him.
Wasn't the Yale prom wonderful?
"If all the girls in attendance were laid end to end,"
she said, "I wouldn't be at all surprised."
"Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough."
"Salary is no object:
I want only enough to keep body and soul apart."
"You know, that woman speaks 18 languages,
and she can't say "no" in any of them."
"His body has gone to his head."
In a 1933 review of the play "The Lake" starring Katherine
Hepburn:"Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B"
"Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."
Of the play "The House Beautiful":
"The House Beautiful is The Play Lousy."
Young man to Dorothy Parker: "I can't bear fools."
Dorothy Parker to young man: "Funny, your mother could."
In a New Yorker review of A.A. Milne's
"House at Pooh Corner": "Tonstant weader fwowed up."
Another book review:
"He is beyond question a writer of power; and his power lies in
his ability to make sex so thoroughly, graphically and
aggressively unattractive that one is fairly shaken to ponder
how little one has been missing."
For her own epitaph:"Excuse my dust."