Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dorothy Parker quotes

It was Jennifer Jason Leigh’s mannerisms and mumblings in 1994’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle that caught my interest in writer, critic, poet Dorothy Parker. Though Parker is primarily known for biting humor in her column for The New Yorker, she was also a fine short story writer. Her best-known work of fiction (and a personal favorite), Big Blonde, won the O. Henry Award as the Best Short Story of 1929. Here are some examples of her "pointed verbal wit":

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. [Said of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged]

If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.

Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.

You can't teach an old dogma new tricks.

The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'cheque enclosed.'

It serves me right for keeping all my eggs in one bastard.

The only ism Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.

Ducking for apples -- change one letter and it's the story of my life.

She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under my host.

I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things.

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.


Travis Erwin said...

I too love her wit, but I was unaware of the movie. I'll have to see if it is available on Netflix.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd heard some of these quotes before but had not attributed them to her. Pretty sharp stuff.

pattinase (abbott) said...

David-Are you going a FB this week? I'm leaving and want to get it ready ahead of time.

David Cranmer said...

Travis, a good movie if a little slow but I think you will enjoy it.

Charles, She was funny and poignant. I'm not sure if we have someone of her caliber today.

Patti, it's on the way.

Barrie said...

I had no idea about the movie either. I have Netflix too, Travis. You better hurry up and order it; there might not be many copies!

Reb said...

She was a woman to be admired. I don't like JJL, so haven't seen the movie, maybe I will anyway.

Merelyme said...

What a remarkable woman! I enjoyed reading the quotes very much.

Michael A. Gonzales said...

Parker also reviewed books for Esquire and once gave a positive review to one of my faves, Harlan Ellison.

David Cranmer said...

Michael, I would really like to buy a collection of her work. She was quite a talented writer and critic.