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The Portable Dorothy Parker

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Portable Dorothy Parker
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Penguin Putnam

The second revision in sixty years, this sublime collection ranges over the verse, stories, essays, and journalism of one of the twentieth century's most quotable authors.

For this new twenty-first-century edition, devoted admirers can be sure to find their favorite verse and stories. But a variety of fresh material has also been added to create a fuller, more authentic picture of her life's work. There are some stories new to the Portable, "Such a Pretty Little Picture," along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. Two of these pieces concern home decorating, a subject not usually associated with Mrs. Parker. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings-racial, labor, international-and so "Soldiers of the Republic" is joined by reprints of "Not Enough" and "Sophisticated Poetry-And the Hell With It," both of which first appeared in New Masses. "A Dorothy Parker Sampler" blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down.

The introduction of two new sections is intended to provide the richest possible sense of Parker herself. "Self-Portrait" reprints an interview she did in 1956 with The Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ("Writers at Work") that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies.

"Letters: 1905-1962," which might be subtitled "Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored," presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.

  • A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps, rough front, and luxurious packaging
  • Features an introduction from Marion Meade and cover illustrations by renowned graphic artist Seth, creator of the comic series Palooka-ville


Baker & Taylor
Collects short fiction, poems, reviews, and letters from the author renowned for her wit and satiric acumen.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2006, c1976
Edition: 2nd rev. ed
ISBN: 0143039539
9780143039532
Branch Call Number: 818 Parker
Characteristics: xxviii, 626 p. ; 22 cm.

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Dec 31, 2013
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

"That bird only sings when she's unhappy."-Alexander Woollcott
Dorothy Parker the person--witty, irreverent, drinky--is probably better known than Dorothy Parker the writer, except for that stupid line about girls with glasses (totally untrue in Portland, btw). This anthology is really the place to start and likely the only Parker you'll need, bringing together short stories, poems, letters, essays and criticism. It's actually her critical pieces (on writers like Hemingway, Hammett and Dreiser) that I think are the strongest and hold up the best. She famously trashed "House on Pooh Corner." There's also a revealing interview with "The Paris View" that offers another, less wise-cracking side of her. Sadly, she died in relative obscurity and poverty and her ashes were unclaimed for years. She did leave her estate, such as it was, to MLK.

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Parker, Dorothy, 1893-1967
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