Dorothy Parker


American Poet, Short Story Writer, Critic and Satirist

Author Quotes

Women and elephants never forget.

Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.

Yet, as only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you'll live through the night.

You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

You can't teach an old dogma new tricks.

You don’t want a general houseworker, do you? Or a traveling companion, quiet, refined, speaks fluent French entirely in the present tense? Or an assistant billiard-maker? Or a private librarian? Or a lady car-washer? Because if you do, I should appreciate your giving me a trial at the job. Any minute now, I am going to become one of the Great Unemployed. I am about to leave literature flat on its face. I don’t want to review books any more. It cuts in too much on my reading.

You think you're frightening me with your hell, don't you? You think Yyur hell is worse than mine.

You were perfectly fine.

I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host.

If wild my breast and sore my pride, I bask in dreams of suicide, if cool my heart and high my head I think 'How lucky are the dead.

It turns out that, at social gatherings, as a source of entertainment, conviviality, and good fun, I rank somewhere between a sprig of parsley and a single ice-skate.

My love runs by like a day in June, and he makes no friends of sorrows. He'll tread his galloping rigadoon in the pathway of the morrows. He'll live his days where the sunbeams start, nor could storm or wind uproot him. My own dear love, he is all my heart, -- and I wish somebody'd shoot him.

Salary is no object: I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.

The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.

What fresh hell is this?

I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

It's not that she has not tried to improve her condition before acknowledging its hopelessness. (Oh, come on, let's get the hell out of this, and get into the first person.) I have sought, by study, to better my form and make myself Society's Darling. You see, I had been fed, in my youth, a lot of old wives' tales about the way men would instantly forsake a beautiful woman to flock about a brilliant one. It is but fair to say that, after getting out in the world, I had never seen this happen, but I thought that maybe I might be the girl to start the vogue. I would become brilliant. I would sparkle. I would hold whole dinner tables spellbound. I would have throngs fighting to come within hearing distance of me while the weakest, elbowed mercilessly to the outskirts, would cry What did she say? or Oh, please ask her to tell it again. That's what I would do. Oh I could just hear myself.

Never complain, never explain.

She can sit up and beg, and she can give her paw —I don't say she will, but she can.

The House Beautiful is, for me, the play lousy.

There's life for you. Spend the best years of your life studying penmanship and rhetoric and syntax and Beowulf and George Eliot, and then somebody steals your pencil.

When I get up in the morning I brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

I never see that prettiest thing- a cherry bough gone white with Spring- but what I think, How gay 'twould be to hang me from a flowering tree.

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American Poet, Short Story Writer, Critic and Satirist