PDF The Critical Waltz
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.
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