Short stories by Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist based in New York; she was best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary works published in such magazines as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics resulted in her being placed on the Hollywood blacklist. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker." Nevertheless, both her literary output and reputation for sharp wit have endured. Some of her works have been set to music; adaptations notably include the operatic song cycle Hate Songs by composer Marcus Paus. Also known as Dot or Dottie,[citation needed] Parker was born Dorothy Rothschild in 1893 to Jacob Henry Rothschild and his wife Eliza Annie (née Marston)[3][4] (1851–1898) at 732 Ocean Avenue in Long BranchNew Jersey.[5] Her parents had a summer beach cottage there. Parker's mother was of Scottish descent. Her father was the son of Sampson Jacob Rothschild (1818–1899) and Mary Greissman (b. 1824), both Prussian-born Jews. Sampson Jacob Rothschild was a merchant who immigrated to the USA around 1846, settling in Monroe County, Alabama. Jacob Henry Rothschild was one of five known siblings. The others were: Simon (1854–1908); Samuel (b. 1857); Hannah (1860–1911), later Mrs. William Henry Theobald; and the youngest, Martin Rothschild, born in Manhattan on December 12, 1865, who perished in the sinking of the Titanic.[6] Parker wrote in her essay, "My Home Town," that her parents returned to their Manhattan apartment shortly after Labor Day so that she could be called a true New Yorker. Her mother died in Manhattan in July 1898, a month before Parker's fifth birthday.[7] Her father remarried in 1900 to Eleanor Frances Lewis (1851–1903).[8] Parker hated her father, who physically abused her, and her stepmother, whom she refused to call "mother," "stepmother," or "Eleanor," instead referring to her as "the housekeeper."[9] However, her biographer, Marion Meade, refers to this account as "largely false," stating that the atmosphere in which Parker was growing up was indulgent, affectionate, supportive and generous.[10] Parker grew up on the Upper West Side and attended a Roman Catholic elementary school at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament on West 79th Street with her sister, Helen, although their father was Jewish and her stepmother was Protestant.[11] (Mercedes de Acosta was a classmate.) Parker once joked that she was asked to leave following her characterization of the Immaculate Conception as "spontaneous combustion."[12] Her stepmother died in 1903, when Parker was nine.[13] Parker later attended Miss Dana's School, a finishing school in Morristown, New Jersey.[14] She graduated from Miss Dana's School in 1911, at the age of 18, according to Authur,[15] although Rhonda Pettit[16] and Marion Meade state she never graduated from either school. Following her father's death in 1913, she played piano at a dancing school to earn a living[17] while she worked on her poetry. She sold her first poem to Vanity Fair magazine in 1914 and some months later was hired as an editorial assistant for Vogue, another Condé Nast magazine. She moved to Vanity Fair as a staff writer after two years at Vogue.[18] In 1917, she met a Wall Streetstockbroker, Edwin Pond Parker II[19] (1893–1933)[20] and they married before he left to serve in World War I with the U.S. Army 4th Division. Dorothy Parker filed for divorce in 1928. He later remarried, to Anne E. O’Brien, formerly probation officer of the Juvenile Court, and died at 39, from an overdose of a sleeping powder for pain following a dental procedure.[21] Dorothy Parker retained her married name, though she remarried the screenwriter and former actor Alan Campbell, and moved to Hollywood Parker's career took off in 1918 while she was writing theater criticism for Vanity Fair, filling in for the vacationing P. G. Wodehouse.[22] At the magazine, she met Robert Benchley, who became a close friend, and Robert E. Sherwood.[23] The trio began lunching at the Algonquin Hotel on a near-daily basis and became founding members of what became known as the Algonquin Round Table. The Round Table numbered among its members the newspaper columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Alexander Woollcott. Through their publication of Parker's lunchtime remarks and short verses, particularly in Adams' column "The Conning Tower", Dorothy began developing a national reputation as a wit. When the group was informed that famously taciturn former president Calvin Coolidge had died, Parker remarked, "How could they tell?"[24] Parker's caustic wit as a critic initially proved popular, but she was eventually dismissed by Vanity Fair in 1920 after her criticisms too often offended powerful producers. In solidarity, Benchley resigned in protest. (Sherwood is sometimes reported to have done so as well, but in actuality he had been fired in December 1919.)[25] She soon started working for Ainslee's Magazine, which had a higher circulation. She also published pieces in Vanity Fair, which was happier to publish her than employ her, The Smart Set, and The American Mercury, but also in the popular Ladies’ Home JournalSaturday Evening Post, and Life.[26] When Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, Parker and Benchley were part of a board of editors established by Ross to allay concerns of his investors. Parker's first piece for the magazine was published in its second issue.[27] Parker became famous for her short, viciously humorous poems, many highlighting ludicrous aspects of her many (largely unsuccessful) romantic affairs and others wistfully considering the appeal of suicide. The next 15 years were Parker's greatest period of productivity and success. In the 1920s alone she published some 300 poems and free verses in Vanity Fair,Vogue, "The Conning Tower" and The New Yorker as well as LifeMcCall's and The New Republic.[28] Her poem, "Song in a Minor Key" was published during a candid interview with New York N.E.A. writer, Josephine Van de Grift.[29]

Cover of the first edition of Enough Rope Parker published her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope, in 1926. The collection sold 47,000 copies[30] and garnered impressive reviews. The Nation described her verse as "caked with a salty humor, rough with splinters of disillusion, and tarred with a bright black authenticity."[31] Although some critics, notably The New York Times reviewer, dismissed her work as "flapper verse,"[32] the volume helped affirm Parker's reputation for sparkling wit.[30] Parker released two more volumes of verse, Sunset Gun (1928) and Death and Taxes (1931), along with the short story collections Laments for the Living (1930) and After Such Pleasures (1933). Not So Deep as a Well (1936) collected much of the material previously published in Rope,Gun, and Death and she re-released her fiction with a few new pieces in 1939 under the title Here Lies. She collaborated with playwright Elmer Rice to create Close Harmony, which ran on Broadway in December 1924. The play was well received in out-of-town previews and was favorably reviewed in New York but it closed after a run of just 24 performances. It did become a successful touring production under the title The Lady Next Door,[33] Some of Parker's most popular work was published in The New Yorker in the form of acerbic book reviews under the byline "Constant Reader," Her response to the whimsy of A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner was "Tonstant Weader fwowed up".[34] Her reviews appeared semi-regularly from 1927 to 1933,[35] were widely read, and were later published in a collection under the name Constant Reader in 1970. Her best-known short story, "Big Blonde," published in The Bookman magazine, was awarded the O. Henry Award as the best short story of 1929.[36] Her short stories, though often witty, were also spare and incisive, and more bittersweet than comic; her style is often described as sardonic.[37] Parker eventually separated from her husband, divorcing in 1928. She had a number of affairs, her lovers including reporter-turned-playwright Charles MacArthur and the publisher Seward Collins. Her relationship with MacArthur resulted in a pregnancy. Parker is alleged to have said, "how like me, to put all my eggs into one bastard.” [38] She had an abortion, and fell into a depression that culminated in her first attempt at suicide.[39] Toward the end of this period, Parker began to become more politically aware and active. What would become a lifelong commitment to activism began in 1927 when she became concerned about the pending executions of Sacco and Vanzetti. Parker traveled to Boston to protest the proceedings. She and fellow Round Tabler Ruth Hale were arrested, and Parker eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of "loitering and sauntering," paying a $5 fine. In 1932, Parker met Alan Campbell,[41] an actor with aspirations to become a screenwriter. They married two years later in Raton, New Mexico. Campbell's mixed parentage was the reverse of Parker's: he had a German-Jewish mother and a Scottish father. She learned that he was bisexual and later proclaimed in public that he was "queer as a billy goat".[42] The pair moved to Hollywood and signed ten-week contracts with Paramount Pictures, with Campbell (who was also expected to act) earning $250 per week and Parker earning $1,000 per week. They would eventually earn $2,000 and in some instances upwards of $5,000 per week as freelancers for various studios.[43] She and Campbell worked on more than 15 films.[44] In 1935, Parker contributed lyrics for the song "I Wished on the Moon," with music by Ralph Rainger. The song was introduced in The Big Broadcast of 1936 by Bing Crosby.[45] With Campbell and Robert Carson, she wrote the script for the 1937 film A Star Is Born, for which they were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing—Screenplay. She wrote additional dialogue for The Little Foxes in 1941. Together with Frank Cavett, she received a nomination for an Oscar for the screenplay of Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947), starring Susan Hayward. After the United States entered the Second World War, Parker and Alexander Woollcott collaborated to produce an anthology of her work as part of a series published by Viking Press for servicemen stationed overseas. With an introduction by W. Somerset Maugham,[46] the volume compiled over two dozen of Parker's short stories, along with selected poems from Enough Rope,Sunset Gun, and Death and Taxes, It was published in the United States in 1944 under the title The Portable Dorothy Parker. Hers is one of three Portable series, including volumes devoted to William Shakespeare and The Bible, that have remained in continuous print.[47] During the 1930s and 1940s, Parker became an increasingly vocal advocate of civil liberties and civil rights, and a frequent critic of authority figures. During the Great Depression, she was among numerous American intellectuals and artists who became involved in related social movements. She reported in 1937 on the Loyalist cause in Spain for the Communist magazine, 'The New Masses.'[48] At the behest of Otto Katz, a covert Soviet Comintern agent and operative of German Communist Party agent Willi Münzenberg, Parker helped to found the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League in 1936, which the FBI suspected of being a Communist Party front.[49] The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League's membership eventually grew to some 4,000 strong. According to David Caute, its often wealthy members were "able to contribute as much to [Communist] Party funds as the whole American working class," although they may not have been intending to support the Party cause.[50] Parker also served as chair of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee's fundraising arm, "Spanish Refugee Appeal". She organized Project Rescue Ship to transport Loyalist veterans to Mexico, headed Spanish Children's Relief, and lent her name to many other left-wing causes and organizations.[51] Her former Round Table friends saw less and less of her, and her relationship with Robert Benchley became particularly strained (although they would reconcile).[52] Parker met S. J. Perelman at a party in 1932 and, despite a rocky start (Perelman called it "a scarifying ordeal"),[53] they remained friends for the next 35 years. They became neighbors when the Perelmans helped Parker and Campbell buy a run-down farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, near New Hope, a popular summer destination among many writers and artists from New York. Parker was listed as a Communist by the publication Red Channels in 1950.[54] The FBI compiled a 1,000-page dossier on her because of her suspected involvement in Communism during the era when Senator Joseph McCarthy was raising alarms about communists in government and Hollywood.[55] As a result, movie studio bosses placed her on the Hollywood blacklist. Her final screenplay was The Fan, a 1949 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan, directed by Otto Preminger. Her marriage to Campbell was tempestuous, with tensions exacerbated by Parker's increasing alcohol consumption and Campbell's long-term affair with a married woman in Europe during World War II.[56] They divorced in 1947,[57] remarried in 1950,[58] then separated in 1952 when Parker moved back to New York.[59] From 1957 to 1962, she lived at the Volney Residential Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side and wrote book reviews for Esquire magazine.[60] Her writing became increasingly erratic due to her continued abuse of alcohol. She returned to Hollywood in 1961, reconciled with Campbell, and collaborated with him on a number of unproduced projects until Campbell died from a drug overdose in 1963. Following Campbell's death, Parker returned to New York City and the Volney Residential hotel. In her later years, she denigrated the Algonquin Round Table, although it had brought her such early notoriety:

These were no giants. Think who was writing in those days—LardnerFitzgeraldFaulkner and Hemingway. Those were the real giants. The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them... There was no truth in anything they said. It was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn't have to be any truth...[62] Parker occasionally participated in radio programs, including Information Please (as a guest) and Author, Author (as a regular panelist). She wrote for the Columbia Workshop, and both Ilka Chase and Tallulah Bankhead used her material for radio monologues.[63] Parker died on June 7, 1967, of a heart attack[5] at the age of 73. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to Martin Luther King Jr., and upon King's death, to the NAACP.

Listing 5 stories.

An anxious young woman wondering why her love interest isn't calling her and agonizes over what would happen if she called him.

As a woman grows older, she falls into a deep sadness while the men around her constantly tell her to cheer up.

On the train ride to their honeymoon, young newlyweds bicker over inconsequential issues that appear as though will never be resolved.

After her husband leaves her, a middle-aged woman reminisces about their years of marriage. Encouraged by her therapist, who thinks that her husband is going through a temporary midlife crisis, the woman waits for her husband and is convinced that he will come back.

An American woman and man visiting France criticize the French people and culture, revealing their ignorance and disregard even as they delight in the fun their unusual group of friends is having.