Dorothy Parker on humour


I had thought…that I should define what humor means to me.

However, every time I tried to, I had to go and lie down with a cold,wet cloth on my head. Still, here I go….Humor to me, Heaven help me, takes in many things.  There must be courage; there must be no awe. There must be criticism, for humor, to my mind, is encapsulated in criticism. There must be a disciplined eye and a wild mind. There must be a magnificent disregard of your reader, for if he cannot follow you, there is nothing you can do about it.

Dorothy Parker in the Introduction to The Most of S.J. Perelman Methuen 2001.



6 thoughts on “Dorothy Parker on humour

    1. Hi Chicken Lady,

      We will indeed be tankaing together. It is so long since I was in London, but two favourite places were The Poetry Library at Southbank, and the Sir John Soane Museum. Oh and Patisserie Valerie up near the Natural History Museum I think. And the Wallace Collection.

      1. Thank you! That will give us a good start. Our younger daughter is coming too — she’s a dramaturg and a Shakespearean actress (off and on), and working on a couple of England-based plays as an intern, so her interests will also guide our steps.

        Looking forward to tanka — trying to read one a day or so to get a feel for it.

  1. Always nice just to mooch about, too – walking round places that have figured in books and the lives of authors. Oh, and Shaw’s Corner, which is a bit out of London – G.B. Shaw’s house which, last time I saw it, had been kept exactly as it was – his typewriter in the summerhouse and his clothes in the wardrobe.

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