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 (A Penguin Classics Special)

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 (A Penguin Classics Special)

by Dorothy Parker, Marion Meade

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Overview

A little known, rediscovered letter:  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 Thus starts a little-known and until now unpublished letter by Dorothy Parker from a Swiss mountaintop.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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698153776
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 707,766
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Dorothy Parker was born in West End, New Jersey, in 1893 and grew up in New York, attending a Catholic convent school and Miss Dana's School in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1916 she sold some of her poetry to the editor of Vogue and was subsequently given an editorial position on the magazine, writing captions for fashion photographs and drawings. She then became drama critic of Vanity Fair and the central figure of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table.

Famous for her spoken wit, she showed the same trenchant commentary in her book reviews for the New Yorker and Esquire and in her poems and sketches. She wrote several poetry collections, including Not So Deep as a Well and Enough Rope, which became a best seller, along with numerous short-story collections, including Here Lies. She also collaborated with Elmer Rice on a play, Close Harmony, and with Arnaud d'Usseau on the play the The Ladies of the Corridor. She had two Broadway plays written about her and was portrayed as a character in a third. Renowned for her cynicism and the concentration of her judgments, Parker’s name remains practically synonymous with modern urbane humor.

Parker (née Rothschild) married Edwin Pond Parker II, and although they were divorced some years later, she continued to use his name, which she much preferred to her own. Her second husband was actor-writer Alan Campbell. They went to Hollywood as a writing team in 1934 and maintained a tempestuous marriage until his death in 1963, when she returned to New York. Dorothy Parker died in New York of a heart attack in 1967.

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. For Penguin Classics, Meade has edited The Portable Dorothy Parker and has introduced Parker’s Complete Poems.

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