Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.
This week, we bring you Dorothy Parker’s Art of Fiction interview from our Summer 1956 issue, Alexia Arthurs’s short story “Bad Behavior,” and Elena Wilkinson’s poem “After the Loss of a Limb.”
If you like what you read, you can also listen to all three in the eighth episode of our podcast, “Questionable Behavior”; and if you like what you hear, why not give us a boost in the charts by subscribing on iTunes. While you’re there, tell us in the comments how much you love the show.
Dorothy Parker, The Art of Fiction No. 13
Issue no. 13 (Summer 1956)
How about Hollywood as provider for the artist?
Hollywood money isn’t money. It’s congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are. I can’t talk about Hollywood. It was a horror to me when I was there and it’s a horror to look back on. I can’t imagine how I did it. When I got away from it I couldn’t even refer to the place by name. “Out there,” I called it. You want to know what “out there” means to me? Once I was coming down a street in Beverly Hills and I saw a Cadillac about a block long and out of the side window was a wonderfully slinky mink, and an arm, and at the end of the arm a hand in a white suede glove wrinkled around the wrist, and in the hand was a bagel with a bite out of it.
“Bad Behavior,” by Alexia Arthurs
Issue no. 217 (Summer 2016)
When Pam was sixteen, Trudy, acting on a tip from a neighbor, had found a love letter in one of her daughter’s schoolbooks and had punched her, even slapped her face. It wasn’t until Pam had become a woman with a husband and children that she could almost forgive her mother. Not all mothers could afford to be kind. When Pam had first come to America, she cleaned for a white family, and one afternoon, standing at her employer’s bedroom door, she overheard the woman and her teenage daughter debate the daughter’s decision to lose her virginity to her boyfriend. Pam marveled that this was a thing that could happen. She had vowed to become a better mother than Trudy.
“After the Loss of a Limb,” by Elena Wilkinson
Issue no. 57 (Spring 1974)
After the family surgeon has severed my hand and wrist from the forearm.
And I have carefully washed the separated hand with the connected hand.
And done its fingernails, and put a drop of perfume at the pulse of the wrist.
And soothed the hand, and stroked it, and spoken to it
Until it understands everything, why the operation was necessary …
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