The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker

The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker

The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker

The Rhetoric of Rage: Women in Dorothy Parker

Synopsis

"The Rhetoric of Rage explores the treatment of women from a contemporary feminist perspective and reveals the ways in which Parker's brittle humor reflects muted anger toward a patriarchal society. Through close examination of the texts, the work investigates the hidden discontents, the buried conflicts of women's lives and exposes the forces at work both implicitly and explicitly that shape their existence. The book locates links between the author's life and the fiction and elucidates the ways in which Parker lived her life in fiction and her fiction in life." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

It is astonishing that Dorothy Parker's universe remains essentially unexplored as serious literature about women. a gifted satirist, reputed as the wittiest woman in America, Parker lived with flamboyant flair in the 1920's and become legendary as a writer of verse and short fiction that depicted uniquely female experiences.

By all accounts, she was the leading light of the small literary set centered in New York during the Jazz Age. When she published her first collection of poems, Enough Rope, in 1926, the book was an instant best-seller--one of the few best-selling poetry books in American history. But people bought it because the author was a media celebrity, and they seemed to appreciate it more for the voguish humor, rather than for the subtle details of the subtext, which touched upon the little, painful, and poignant struggles of women's life.

Despite Parker's popularity and reputation, or perhaps because of it, her short stories have generally been regarded as playful fictional satires, depicting stereotypical female behavior and providing little more than comic pieces of amusement for either public or academic audiences.

Although a new understanding of woman's roles in literature has begun to take hold, virtually no critics have sought to furnish serious consideration of the view of women in the works of Dorothy Parker or to explore her treatment of women from a feminist perspective.

The purpose of this work is to provide fresh perspective on the portraits of women that Dorothy Parker created and to present contemporary analyses that offer insight into female experience. This book grows out of a need to examine the fiction of Dorothy Parker as serious social commentary, to rein-

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