History of Literature #64 – Dorothy Parker


“She was a combination of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth,” said Alexander Woolcott. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) wrote short stories, poems, reviews, screenplays, and more. Perhaps most famously, she was part of the group of New Yorkers known as the Algonquin Round Table, which met every day for lunch and eventually grew famous for their witticisms, put-downs, and general high spirits. A woman of brilliance as well as deep contradiction, Parker at her best combined romantic optimism with a dark, biting pessimism that still feels modern.

In this episode, Jacke is joined by the President of the Literature Supporters Club for a field report of the Algonquin Hotel today and a discussion of Parker’s life, works, and top ten quips.


Show Notes: 

We have a special episode coming up – listener feedback! Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

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Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“I Wished on the Moon” by Billie Holiday (1935) and Ella Fitzgerald and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra (1962)

4 thoughts on “History of Literature #64 – Dorothy Parker

    1. The best way to encounter her, I think, is to read from one of the collections. I would start with The Portable Dorothy Parker, which has both stories and poems. Her most famous story is probably “Big Blonde” but I also like the story “Here We Are.” Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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