Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Algonquin Round Table

A couple of stories I either heard or read recently have taken me back to the days when I read everything I could about the members of the Algonquin Round Table. I played Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came to Dinner in high school, and I researched the part deeply. I read James R. Gaines' Wit's End, a diverting book about the characters surrounding the table, as well as biographies of Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley (I also loved his essays when I was a teenager), Robert Sherwood, Dorothy Parker and George S. Kaufman. And don't forget Act One, Moss Hart's brilliant memoir about working with Kaufman. I also loved to visit the Algonquin on my forays into Manhattan (which, in the 1970s, was something of an adventure, and not in the good sense). Benchley is a tragic figure for me, a man who was definitely talented but who didn't really believe it.

There's this story from NPR about a new book on the Algonquin Round Table, co-authored by one of Benchley's descendants:

And then there's this appreciation of Kaufman by Christopher Isherwood.

1 comment:

Nat Benchley said...

Thanks for the plug for the book. I hope it satisfies some of your hunger for material from the Round Table group.