Wednesday, April 9, 2008



TT#4: Thirteen Things about Dorothy Parker


I've always enjoyed reading about Dorothy Parker. I use Wikipedia's words: "she was an American writer, poet, critic, and a fixture of 1920s literary society known for her acerbic wit and low opinion of romantic relationships. She became a member of the famous Algonquin Round Table, which was a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of "The Vicious Circle," as they dubbed themselves, gathered for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. At these luncheons they engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country".


I remember that on my first trip to NYC, in the early eighties, I wanted to have drinks at the Algonquin Hotel. The staff there showed me the space where the group had gathered---and I could only imagine the fun and laughter that emanated those many years ago.

In the quotes and writings below, I have not included the attributions, only contextual explanations.

  1. "She ran the whole gamut of the emotions from A to B." (once said about Katherine Hepburn's performance in a Broadway play).
  2. "How could they tell?" (on being told about President Calvin Coolidge's death)
  3. "All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends".
  4. "If all the young ladies who attended the Yale promenade were laid end to end, no one would be the least surprised".
  5. "That woman speaks 18 languages and can’t say No in any of them."
  6. "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force". (written in a book review)
  7. "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses".
  8. "You can't teach an old dogma new tricks".
  9. "And she had It. It, hell; she had Those."
  10. On Experience: Some men tear your heart in two, Some men flirt and flatter, Some men never look at you, And that clears up the matter. (her poem)
  11. Résumé: Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful; Nooses give; Gas smells awful; You might as well live. (her poem)
  12. "She must have done it sliding down a barrister". (On hearing an actress had broken her leg) And-----my personal favorite:
  13. "You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think". (On being asked at a game show to use the word horticulture in a sentence)
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  • 21 comments:

    Malcolm said...

    13 is my favorite Dorothy Parker quote too. I thought that Jennifer Jason Leigh did an amazing job of playing her in "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle".

    Adelle said...

    Very interesting. Love #13! lol Happy T13!

    Journeywoman said...

    AMAZING list.

    Nicholas said...

    A great mind. I enjoyed reading those.

    forgetfulone said...

    I have never really heard of her, but now I am interested!

    Tips_tricks said...

    Interesting. #5 sticks to my mind like a leech! :-)

    storyteller said...

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I've not thought of Dorothy Parker in years, but enjoyed your T-13 list today. Thanks for your comment on mine at Small Reflections this morning. You're right ... the 'teacher' in us never seems to go away, does it? ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

    Pretty Life Online said...

    nice list for TT! That chocolates in my TT entry are european chocolates thanks for dropping by....

    SandyCarlson said...

    Parker was hot stuff. You might enjoy "Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin"! She figures in this book about the women of the 20s making it in the world of literature! And it's fun.

    Dane Bramage said...

    A great list! I have added some of these to my collection of quotes.

    Thanks for visiting my Anniversary edition Thursday Thirteen. 13 favorite T13 from the last year

    Calliope said...

    I adore Dorothy Parker. Well chosen TT you have here. Indeed, #13 is my favorite quote.

    -Celticlibrarian
    http://fremontlibraries.wordpress.com

    Harris Channing said...

    Wonderful list!

    ~Harris.

    Tasina said...

    I love Dorothy Parker. Thanks for sharing these gems.

    Lori said...

    That was a great list. Those quotes engender a low chuckle of the best kind. Love it.

    Thanks for stopping by my TT!

    Lori said...

    PS. Just noticed that you enjoy riding a Harley. My husband and I have decided to plan our "mid-life crisis" and get Harley's for our 50th birthdays. A friend who enjoys riding with her husband now said to forget 50 and get them when we turn 40. But actually "mid-life crisis" is just our excuse (and our lame attempt at humor), we won't be able to afford them until the kids are grown! It's nice to look forward to though. :-D

    Library Lady said...

    I've always loved Dorothy Parker. And though my mom taught me to love A.A.Milne, she and I both still howl over Parker's review of "Winnie the Pooh": "Constant Reader fwowed up!"

    Love the Coolidge quote too--Happy T13!

    Ananya said...

    Great TT...loved it and ahve copied ur post into my desktop!
    thanks for stopping by!

    Smiler said...

    Those are wonderful quotes, glad you shared them. Thanks for the visit too!

    Melanie said...

    Oh my goodness- some of those are just hilarious. I love the "how could they tell?"
    Our Happy Happenings

    byrningbunny said...

    "men seldom make passes . . ." is one of the few quotes I remember from school! I love Dorothy Parker. Very interesting post!

    Anonymous said...

    Love your blog. Easy way to keep up with what's happening with kin folks.
    Harry