Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dorothy Parker and Suicide

She said of Scott Fitzgerald at his funeral, "The poor son-of-a-bitch" (i.e., dying of drink at age 44). It took her many more years to drink herself to death but she finally managed it.

NY Books

"“Big Blonde” reveals the desperate life of a fading party girl who’s run out of steam and tries, and fails, to kill herself. It’s convincing in its verisimilitude and deployment of pathos, but finally it comes across as a masterly performance rather than a reverberant vision of life. (Compare it to Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.) It’s also Parker dealing with her own failed suicide attempts—slashed wrists, Veronal (Big Blonde’s drug of choice). Suicide was a constant reality for her. The novel she began was to be called Sonnets in Suicide. One of her most famous poems, “Résumé,” summed things up:
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Death and suicide are never far from her thoughts—she titled her collections Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death and Taxes, and Not So Deep as a Well, the first of them a major best seller in 1926, confirming her fame."

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