Dorothy Parker Loses Her Day Job

February 10, 2020

Known for her biting fiction, wry poetry, and time among New York City’s sharpest literary circle, Dorothy Parker wasn’t a stranger to controversy. For the Public Domain Review, Jonathan Goldman recounts the time Parker was fired from her post as theater critic for Vanity Fair for harsh reviews that upset the magazine’s advertisers. “[Editor Frank] Crowninshield met Parker at the Plaza and fired her from the job she had held for two years. Parker promptly ordered the most expensive dessert on the menu and left,” Goldman writes. “In the days that followed, Parker’s cronies who hung out in the Rose Room of the Algonquin Hotel made the firing and its fallout at Vanity Fair into a media scandal. Parker herself would never again hold a desk job or draw a regular salary, finding success instead as a freelance critic, author of brilliant and acclaimed verse, short fiction, essays, plays, and film scripts. The incident changed her career and stature, and its response helped forge the legend of what would eventually be called the Algonquin Round Table.”

Image credit: Library of Congress

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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