The Late Mrs. Dorothy Parker

Leslie Frewin, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $22.95 (345p) ISBN 978-0-02-541310-8
A prolific British biographer (Dietrich writes carelessly about the witty but unhappy short-story writer, versifier, critic and playwright Dorothy Rothschild Parker (18931967). For all her irreverent maxims, epigrams and bon mots, he notes, Parker's wit ""ambivalently contained the seeds of a deep, personal sadness.'' A manic-depressive who resented the fact that her father was Jewish, and who had numerous unsuitable affairs with tall, handsome WASPs, she was twice married to the half-Jewish bisexual Alan Campbell and attempted suicide at least three times. Only with Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood and Donald Ogden Stewart was she able to maintain nonbitchy relationships. Her remark about a book on science having been written ``without fear and without research'' might well be applied to Frewin's pretentious biography: he sedulously oversimplifies, confuses the chronology, pads the background with anachronisms and inappropriate names, relies heavily on the expression ``met up with,'' and ruins many of Parker's best witticisms by inappropriate presentation. Photos not seen by PW. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Genre: Nonfiction
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