Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mrs. Parker and the Round Table (6/7/06)

In the 1920s, there was no group smarter or funnier than the Algonquin Round Table (aka "the Vicious Circle"). Such creative types as George S. Kaufman and Robert Benchley met daily at New York's Algonquin Hotel to dissect current events, the theatre, and each other. The most notorious member was Dorothy Parker, who was as famous for her biting criticism ("This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force") as her suicide attempts. Mrs. Parker may have met the most unusual end of all the Round Table members. When she died on June 7, 1967, she left her ashes to writer Lillian Hellman, who let them languish in a drawer at Parker's lawyer's office for 21 years until the NAACP interred them in a specially-built garden in Baltimore. Mrs. Parker's mock epitaph, "Excuse my dust," turned out to be more prophetic than she could have dreamed.

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