For this new twenty-first-century edition, devoted admirers can be sure to find their favorite verse and stories. But a variety of fresh material has also been added to create a fuller, more authentic picture of her life's work. There are some stories new to the Portable, 'Such a Pretty Little Picture,' along with a selection of articles written for such disparate publications as Vogue, McCall's, House and Garden, and New Masses. Two of these pieces concern home decorating, a subject not usually associated with Mrs. Parker. At the heart of her serious work lies her political writings-racial, labor, international-and so 'Soldiers of the Republic' is joined by reprints of 'Not Enough' and 'Sophisticated Poetry-And the Hell With It,' both of which first appeared in New Masses. 'A Dorothy Parker Sampler' blends the sublime and the silly with the terrifying, a sort of tasting menu of verse, stories, essays, political journalism, a speech on writing, plus a catchy off-the-cuff rhyme she never thought to write down.
The introduction of two new sections is intended to provide the richest possible sense of Parker herself. 'Self-Portrait' reprints an interview she did in 1956 with The Paris Review, part of a famed ongoing series of conversations ('Writers at Work') that the literary journal conducted with the best of twentieth-century writers. What makes the interviews so interesting is that they were permitted to edit their transcripts before publication, resulting in miniature autobiographies.
'Letters: 1905-1962,' which might be subtitled 'Mrs. Parker Completely Uncensored,' presents correspondence written over the period of a half century, beginning in 1905 when twelve-year-old Dottie wrote her father during a summer vacation on Long Island, and concluding with a 1962 missive from Hollywood describing her fondness for Marilyn Monroe.