2Background and Reflection About Dorothy ParkerText AnalysisBackground and ReflectionWit to Appreciate
3Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) PoetShort story writerCriticSatiristBest known for:witwisecrackseye for 20th century urban foibles
4Early literary output: New YorkerVanity FairAlgonquin Round Table:Dorothy as one of thefounding memberan informal luncheon group at the Algonquin Hotel in the nineteen-twentiesre-printing of her lunchtime remarks and short versesoffend powerful producers too often
5Hollywood: Sharp wit endured screenwritingtwo Academy Award nominationsHollywood blacklist (left-wing politics)Sharp wit enduredDorothy Parker: “Big Blonde” (Bookman Magazine, February 1929)The O. Henry Award, an annual American award given to short stories of exceptional meritMarriage:1st: Parker2nd, 3rd: Campbell
6The New York Times wrote: Miss Parker, for all her mercury-quick mind, was a careful, even painful, craftsman. She had her own definition of humor, and it demanded lonely, perfectionist writing to make the truly funny seem casual and uncontrived.
7Background and Reflection About Dorothy ParkerText AnalysisBackground and ReflectionWit to Appreciate
8Monologue a sentimental woman tortured by the uncertainty of love Emotional cyclecounting, guessing, waiting, begging, cursingA call from the man (man busy, office; woman doing nothing)Ending unwritten
12Stream of Consciousness Cycles of emotional burstsCursethe telephone“I'll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I'll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.”herself“send me to hell”the man“hurt him like hell”“I wish he were dead, dead, dead”Metaphor: tele- remotemen &women
14Satire Women writers Women: should not sit and wait for love master of their own fateMale-oriented societyCelebrity cultureWomen writers
15Background and Reflection About Dorothy ParkerText AnalysisBackground and ReflectionWit to Appreciate
16Enough Rope, one of the first best-selling volumes of poetry in America Short stories, distinction between what the speaker says and what she thinks“A Telephone Call” (The Bookman, January 1928),“The Garter” (The New Yorker, September 8, 1928),“But the One on the Right” (The New Yorker, October 19, 1929),“Sentiment” (Harper’s Bazaar, May 1933), and“The Waltz” (The New Yorker, September 2, 1933)Each female monologist outwardly presented a sacrificial politeness that belied the bitingly satirical mentality within.the only monologues, indeed the only works, in which Parker explicitly named herself as the protagonist
17leaving the endings of these stories essentially unwritten not delivering what the form of the autobiographical monologue promises, namely some insight into the selfthe alienation the speaker experienced as a woman--- the distinction between what she thinks and what she can properly say
18Seeing reviews of her work Hearing accounts of her behaviorHaving her one-liners quoted back to herthe division between external and internal expression in these monologuesAwareness that she could no longer completely control her public imageHer satirical mockery of what publicity did to women writers
19literary starunprecedented public fascination with celebrity culture in AmericaMonologuesHer own personal experience of becoming a public figureThe beginnings of a larger cultural phenomenon of literary celebrity that has come to influence the current market of fiction as well as contemporary literary studies
20Difficult Competition Avoided evaluative comparisons to male writersWanted to compete with her male contemporariesearly twentieth century mass culture in America governed by rigid gender rolesDifficult CompetitionMale authorsplay heroic rolesrefined, cultured, and sophisticatedFemale authorsmost often compared to their male contemporaries in pursuit of defining their worth among the cultural eliteif “successful”, not successful in dispelling a cultural paradigm that associated masculinity with superior talent and femininity with inferior forms of writing
21a more masculine persona the rhetorical strategy of satire masculinityliterary longevityTo exploit the literary marketTo critique the limiting effects of celebrity culture on women writers
22Resisting interpretations of the relationship between her work and her “self” to the end of her life, she inspired her last interviewer, Wyatt Cooper, to write “If you didn’t know Dorothy Parker, whatever you think she was like, she wasn’t. Even if you did know her, whatever you thought she was like, she probably wasn’t”.Her image continues to be created, refashioned, and complicated in a way that makes her an especially intriguing figure in light of contemporary observations about the fluid nature of gender.
23Background and Reflection About Dorothy ParkerText AnalysisBackground and ReflectionWit to Appreciate
24Algonquin Round TableOne of her most famous comments was made when the group was informed that former president Calvin Coolidge had died.Parker remarked, "How could they tell?"
25Advertisements:One of her earliest ads for Vogue parodies a famous line from Shakespeare’s Polonius: “Brevity is the soul of wit” to describe a line of women’s undergarments: “From these foundations of the autumn wardrobe, one may learn that brevity is the soul of lingerie.”Continuing this line of humor, Parker again wrote an amusing ad for an expensive but revealing nightgown: “There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. 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.(mousseline de soie—silk, Valenciennes –a French Town)