A Sharp Wit and a Round Table

During an argument in Secrets and Loans, Lorelai states “You think I sit around all day swapping witticisms with Robert Benchley at the Algonquin?”

As everyone knows, Gilmore Girls has a fast paced dialogue full of witty remarks and references; in fact, that’s what this blog is based upon. From 1919 until 1929 another group of witty intellectuals met regularly at the Algonquin Hotel.

Art Samuels, Charles MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorthy Parker and Alexander Woollcott

The group came to be during a friendly roast for Alexander Woollcott, the theatre critic for the New York Times. Everyone had such a great time that it was suggested that the group meet daily. So, the Algonquin Round Table came to be.

The main fixtures of the table were: Woollcott, Benchley, Franklin Pierce Adams (known as FPA), Dorothy Parker, Robert Sherwood, George Kaufman, Heywood Broun, and Ruth Hale. Although many other notable members of the literati pulled up a chair like Edna Ferber, Harold Ross and Jane Grant.

 

 

In the room where it all happened, a portrait hangs portraying key members of the group

The Algonquin Round Table was a networking group of sorts, members were not only friends but collaborators. In fact, when Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant first pitched the idea for a literary magazine, The New Yorker, their relationships with these famous writers were why they were able to launch it. The first issue included pieces written by Parker, Benchley and Woollcott.

The infamous table in the corner of the Algonquin Hotel was the Salon or Les Deux Magot of its’ time. It remains to be a spot where literary deals are made under the portrait of the sharp-tongued members who made it iconic.

 

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