Robert Benchley

Make it a Benchley Night; Blast from the Past

There is a great video now on sale in the Book Shop that captures on film three of the key members of the Algonquin Round Table: Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott and Donald Ogden Stewart. Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin is a must-have for fans of the Gonk. The video is a compilation of nine short films, each one under 10 minutes in length. Benchley’s infamous “The Treasurer’s Report” (1928) and Woollcott’s “Mr. W’s Little Game” (1934) are true comedic gems that haven’t lost anything in seven decades. There is a longer description in the What the Hell Book Shop.

It is quite a week for new material about Mrs. Parker. Jeremy McCarter from The New Republic Online dropped us a note to tell us about a very cool addition to their site. The staff just pulled from the magazine’s archives a 1927 review of Dorothy Parker’s first collection of verse, “Enough Rope” written by Edmund Wilson, who was TNR’s literary editor. In typical Round Table back scratching, Wilson was a friend of Dottie’s. He writes, “Dorothy Parker’s unprecedented feat has been to raise to the dignity of poetry the “wise-cracking” humor of New York: she has thus almost invented a new kind of epigram: she has made the comic anti-climax tragic. With the publication of this volume, her figure becomes distinct and her voice unmistakable: in her satires, in her short stories, in her play, we had long been aware of her as somebody and something in particular; and from now on, she must command our attention.” TNR is an excellent read, and there are many literary treasures to be mined on its site. Check it out.

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