Thursday 29 September 2011

Dorothy Parker - Writer (1893 -1967)

I've recently purchased (on one of my meandering through the local Chatsworth Market) a second copy of Dorothy Parker's biography "What Fresh Hell Is This?" by Marion Meade. I have just started reading it, but I can tell already I'm in for a treat.

I do not know much about Parker's life at all - apart from the bohemian lifestyle which became part of her legend; and of course her sharp wit and melancholic cynicism at life's many disaventures.

I thought it'd be nice to share some of the wit for which she became renowned for and synonimous of. Her writing was a clear verbal portraiture of the carelessness and dissatisfaction of the times she was living in - the 1920s - the days in between the ravages of the WWI and WWII, when the former needed to be forgotten and the latter was seemingly unforseen.

A Certain Lady (1924)

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
And you believe, so well I know my part,
That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
And all the straining things within my heart
You'll never know.

Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, --
Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
To sing me sagas of your late delights.
Thus do you want me -- marveling, gay, and true,
Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ....
And what goes on, my love, while you're away,
You'll never know.

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In this blog I intend to do some historical justice to the many, many women who have contributed with their genius, creativity, adventurous spirit, nurturing - amongst other qualities - to the apparent linear and male dominated prescribed notion of History. This is just the beggining.