Brain Pickings

Dorothy Parker Obituary, 1967

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Treasure-hunting for literary history gems in second-hand books.

On her 70th birthday, Dorothy Parker — prolific poet, celebrated satirist, keen critic, astute observer of literary culture — noted wryly:

If I had any decency, I’d be dead. Most of my friends already are.

Less than four years later, on June 7, 1967, she suffered a heart attack in her New York City hotel suite and died. The following day, The Kansas City Times published the following obituary, which my friend Wendy found tucked inside the pages of an old copy of Enough Rope, Parker’s first volume of poetry — a living testament to the wonders tucked inside second-hand books.

Once, reviewing a performance of Katherine Hepburn on Broadway, Miss Parker wrote: ‘She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B.’

For a proper celebration of Parker’s genius, treat yourself to the Penguin Classic The Portable Dorothy Parker, edited by Parker biographer Marion Meade.

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