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CHARACTERS AND PLOTS IN DOROTHY PARKER'S SHORT STORIES
by robert l gale

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was one of a kind. She hated her father, was rebellious in school, made her way skillfully in the New York literary scene, and soon burst into print as a poet and short-story writer. She first achieved popularity, nay, notoriety, because of her gauche verse. But she will be best remembered, and long admired, as a feisty, liberal, feminist writer because of her 52 short stories. They are the subject of this book. Her weapons are epigrammatic wit, bitter irony, and “black” humor. She numbered among her friends innumerable writers of the Roaring Twenties and later war-torn decades. “Dottie” Parker would have become an even more towering figure in American literary history but for certain dangerous personal flaws. Among them were imperfectly controlled love of alcohol and love of “love,” including but not limited to two stormy marriages, and also a persistent, suicidal self-deprecation. Nevertheless, her literary accomplishments will long endure. The contents of her stories are especially challenging. They startle, amuse, unsettle, and subtly encourage her readers to behave better.

Iowa-born Robert Lee Gale has degrees from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, was an officer during World War II in the Counter Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and served in England, France, and Morocco. He taught forty years at American and foreign universities and has published widely, including more than twenty reference books like this one on Dorothy Parker, and including four also published by Word Association Publishers on Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Norman Maclean, James Welch, and D’Arcy McNickle. Retired from the University of Pittsburgh, Gale now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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