Penguin Classics Releases ALPINE GIGGLE WEEK and THE LAST DAYS OF DOROTHY PARKER Today
Today, May 27, 2014, Penguin Classics will release two previously unpublished works by renowned literary wit Dorothy Parker and her biographer Marion Meade. ALPINE GIGGLE WEEK: How Dorothy Parker Set Out to Write the Great American Novel and Ended Up in a TB Colony Atop an Alpine Peak is a hilarious and practically unknown letter by Dorothy Parker written to her publishers in 1930 (A Penguin Classics Special; On Sale: May 27, 2014; ISBN: 9780698153776; $1.99). THE LAST DAYS OF DOROTHY PARKER: The Extraordinary Lives of Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman and How Death Can Be Hell on Friendshipby biographer Marion Meade draws from new research to recount Dorothy Parker's last days before her death and the bizarre and unceremonious treatment of her remains following it (A Penguin Classics Special; On Sale: May 27, 2014; ISBN: 9781101627211; $2.99).
ALPINE GIGGLE WEEK is an SOS from a woman trapped on a Swiss mountaintop in a TB colony with no idea how to escape-that woman being Dorothy Parker.
"Kids, I have started one thousand (1,000) letters to you, but they all through no will of mine got to sounding so gloomy and I was afraid of boring the combined tripe out of you, so I never sent them." Thus starts a little-known and until now unpublished letter by Dorothy Parker from a Swiss mountaintop. Parker wrote the letter in September 1930 to Viking publishers Harold Guinzburg and George Oppenheimer-she went to France to write a novel for them and wound up in a TB colony in Switzerland. Parker refers to the letter as a "novelette," yet there is nothing fictional about it. More accurately, the biting composition reads like a gossipy diary entry, typed out on Parker's beautiful new German typewriter. She namedrops notable figures like Ernest Hemingway and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald while covering topics running from her various accidents and health problems to her opinions on dogs, literary critics and God. The writing is vintage Parker: uncensored, unedited, deliciously malicious, and certainly one of the most entertaining of her letters-or for that matter any letter-that you'll ever read.
This edition features an introduction, notes, and annotations on notable figures by Parker biographer Marion Meade.
In THE LAST DAYS OF DOROTHY PARKER, Dorothy Parker biographer Marion Meade shares insight into the last days in the life of Dorothy Parker-the horrible and the hilarious-including her colorful friendship with Lillian Hellman, and the bizarre afterlife of Parker's remains from a file cabinet on Wall Street to a small burial site by the NAACP office in Baltimore.
The Volney was a dignified residence hotel, favored by older women and their dogs, on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Dorothy Parker died there, of a heart attack, on June 7, 1967. She was seventy-three and had been famous for almost half a century. As befitted a much-loved humorist, poet, and storywriter, the New York Times announced her exit in a front-page obituary. This was followed by a star-studded memorial service, also reported in the paper, which was attended by some 150 of her friends and admirers. More than twenty years later, on October 20, 1988, Parker was buried in Baltimore, in a memorial garden at the national headquarters of the NAACP. Why did it take more than two decades for Dorothy Parker to get a decent burial? What accounts for her macabre Edgar Allan Poe-style ending, arguably one of the most ghoulish in modern literary history? And just what happened to her during those twenty-one years? THE LAST DAYS provides insight into Parker's success as a Hollywood screenwriter, her unlucky love life, and her complicated friendship of over thirty years with playwright and screenwriter Lillian Hellman. Other notable figures in Parker's circle make appearances including Dashiell Hammett and John O'Hara. Marion Meade includes new research from letters and materials not included in her previous biography, with an emphasis on Parker's posthumous existence. Always riotous and occasionally ghastly, THE LAST DAYS is utterly and completely Dorothy Parker.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) is a literary legend famed for her poetry, short stories, criticism, screenplays, and dramas. She was a founding writer of The New Yorker in 1925 and a key member of the New York literary circle, the Algonquin Round Table. During the Twenties, when she won acclaim for her humorous verse and prize-winning short stories such as "Big Blonde," she became known as the wittiest woman in America. At various times in her life she also wrote for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Esquire. Not so well known are her political beliefs: she helped unionize Hollywood screenwriters, joined the Communist Party, and worked on behalf of various left-wing causes. In the 1950s, she was blacklisted in Hollywood. Her estate was bequeathed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is buried in Baltimore, at the headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which became her literary executor following Dr. King's assassination. Today, four decades after her death, Dorothy Parker remains one of the most quoted writers in the world.
Marion Meade is the author of Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? and Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties. She has also written biographies of Woody Allen, Buster Keaton, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Victoria Woodhull, and Madame Blavatsky, as well as two novels about medieval France.
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