The pinnacle of the writer’s art, the short story, is celebrated in an exclusive new illustrated edition, The Folio Book of Great Short Stories.
The Best of Dorothy Parker
Illustrated by Helen Smithson
Introduced by Mervyn Horder
Enjoy The Best of Dorothy Parker in The Folio Society’s new edition of poetry and short stories from the greatest wit of her age, with the era-defining graphic illustrations of Helen Smithson.
‘Her reputation as a wit obscures her genuine achievements – short stories that still dazzle and decades of political activism’
- The Guardian
Poet, theatre critic, raconteur, philanthropist – Dorothy Parker was all of these and so much more. And while her quotes and one-liners were laugh-out-loud caustic keepers, this selection delves deeper into Parker’s literary repertoire, bringing together the best of her short fiction and poetry in a gorgeous new edition with a binding as dazzling, and illustrations as attention-grabbing, as the words they surround. From droll and pithy to heartfelt and melancholy, the entries have been carefully chosen to show off Parker’s creative flexibility. The order follows no discernible logic; it simply reflects her wonderful writerly train of thought.
Wit has truth in it. Wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
Bound in cloth printed and blocked with a design by Jamie Keenan
Set in Goudy Old Style with Spartan Bold display
8 integrated black & white illustrations
8¾˝ x 5½˝
A woman in her element in a man’s world
Parker’s effortless quick wit, enviable mastery of the English language and the endurance of her spirit means her work remains widely admired and habitually quoted. A New Yorker through and through, she had the city in the palm of her hand at a time when offices and social institutions still revolved around the old boys’ network. Such was her charm and influence that Parker was a founding member of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table – a group of writers, actors, critics and editors who regularly met in the Pergola Room of the Algonquin Hotel for lunches fuelled by booze and literary banter.
Incredibly, illustrator Helen Smithson has managed to capture the many facets of Parker’s personality in her captivating line drawings. Like Parker herself, the illustrations are more than the sum of their parts; simple black-and-white sketches that offer incredible insight into the woman behind the brash mouth and big personality.
Take me or leave me, or as is the usual order of things, both.
A tortured soul with a razor-sharp tongue
Like many blessed with a creative gift, Parker was also plagued with a predilection for liquor and a descent into dark thoughts that resulted in multiple suicide attempts. Never one to mince her words, even the subject of her own failed demise wasn’t off-limits and she speaks candidly about suicide in her poem Résumé. From her troubled childhood to her catalogue of failed relationships, Parker could make light of any situation with borderline profanity. However, she frequently turned her hand to serious prose and was as likely to use herself as the subject of her outpourings as the other people she encountered.
ABOUT DOROTHY PARKER
ABOUT MERVYN HORDER
Mervyn Horder was born in 1910 in London and was the son of the first Baron Horder of Ashford, becoming the second Baron when his father died in 1955. Horder studied at Winchester College and then Trinity College, Cambridge, but also had a keen interest in music that led to him attending the Guildhall School of Music. However, despite his talent as a pianist, Horder followed a career path in publishing. He was chairman of Duckworth from 1948 to 1970, during which time the company published new titles, as well as selling their extensive backlist. He became known as the ‘gentleman publisher’ and was much loved in literary circles. He returned to music after leaving Duckworth’s and composed songs, carols and piano pieces. Horder died aged 86 in 1997.