The Critical Waltz: Essays on the Work of Dorothy Parker
Edited by Rhonda S. Pettit

About the Editor:
Rhonda S. Pettit is an associate professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Cincinnati Raymond Walters College.

As its title suggests, The Critical Waltz: Essays on the Work of Dorothy Parker focuses on the writing, rather than the life, of one of the twentieth century's most famous underappreciate authors. Although Parker (1893-1967) is known as the caustic wit of the Jazz Age, her work embodies a range of sensibilities informed by the twin tensions of modernism and feminism.

What is the significance of Parker's work? This is the question that The Critical Waltz begins to answer by offering the first collection of criticism about Parker's writing. Five new essays, as well as two student essays, join thirteen essays published in journals and books since 1977. Organized into four parts - Modernist Contexts, Feminist Issues, Classroom Encounters, and Conversations - the arrangement of this volume reflects three broad categories that have emerged int eh critical discussion of Parker's work since the late 1970s, followed by an interview and letters in which Parker speaks for herself.

Parker's waltz offers a metaphor for the kind of interpretive work, ongoing since the lat 1970s and offering at times contrasting views, about Parker's writing. This "new critical" work of another order produces an exchange of ideas that deepens our understanding of Parker's texts and her place in literary history, rather than a premature dismissal based on New Critical standards alone.

Scholars, teachers, and general readers alike will benefit from the perspectives offered in The Critical Waltz.

Contents Preface
Regina Barreca

Rhonda S. Pettit

“Two Stumbles, Slip, and a Twenty-Yard Dash”: Dorothy Parker and the Waltz of Literary Criticism
Rhonda S. Pettit

Part I. Modernist Contexts
Parker’s “Iseult of Brittany” (1986)
Ruthmarie H. Mitsch

Making Love Modern: Dorothy Parker and Her Public (1992)
Nina Miller

Dorothy Parker’s Perpetual Motion (1995)
Ken Johnson

Material Girls in the Jazz Age: Dorothy Parker’s “Big Blonde” as an Answer to Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1998)
Rhonda S. Pettit

Textual Transmission and the Transformation of Texts: On the Dialogic Margins of Dorothy Parker’s “The Waltz” (2003)
Robert D. Arner

The Other Dorothy Parkers (2003)
Arthur. F. Kinney

Here Lies by Mehitabel (2003)
Lynn Z. Bloom

Part II. Feminist Issues
Dorothy Parker, Erica Jong, and New Feminist Humor (1977)
Emily Toth

“I Am Outraged Womanhood”: Dorothy Parker as Feminist and Social Critic (1978), with Coda
Suzanne L. Bunkers

Verbal Subversions in Dorothy Parker: “Trapped Like a Trap in a Trap” (1980), with Coda
Paula A. Treichler

Black on Blonde: The Africanist Presence in Dorothy Parker’s “Big Blonde” (1996)
Amelia Simpson

Premium Swift: Dorothy Parker’s Iron Mask of Femininity (1996)
Ellen Pollak

The Remarkably Constant Reader: Dorothy Parker as Book Reviewer (1997)
Nancy A. Walker

Being and Dying as a Woman in the Short Fiction of Dorothy Parker (1998)
Andrea Ivanov-Craig

Female Trouble: Dorothy Parker, Katherine Anne Porter, and Alcoholism (1998)
Ellen Lansky

Part III. Classroom Encounters
Reading, Responding, Composing: A Revisionary Approach (1984)
Phillip Arrington

The Hall Monitor Who Broke the Rules: Teaching Dorothy Parker’s The Ladies of the Corridor as Feminist Drama (2003)
Ann M. Fox
Mrs. Parker and the History of Political Thought (2003)
Sophia Mihic

Student Essays
“They Can See Me If I Cry”: Feminine Language and Reader Identification in Dorothy Parker’s “Sentiment” (2003)
Timothy P. McMackin

Behavior at Its Worst: Freudian Concepts in the Writing of Dorothy Parker (2003)
Donna Stamm

Part IV. Conversations
Dorothy Parker’s Letters to Alexander Woollcott (1926-43; pub. 1989)
Arthur F. Kinney

An Interview with Dorothy Parker (1956; repr. 1958)
Marion Capron

Selected Bibliography

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ISBN 0-8386-3968-2

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