line The Algonquin Round Table

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Caricature reflected the piquant humor of the Algonquin Round Table writers, a group of town wits who had converged on New York in the late 1910s. From their positions as columnists, essayists, and drama critics, this "all-star literary vaudeville," as Edmund Wilson called them, nourished a light, sharp, mocking tone aimed at well-known personalities, among whom they counted themselves. Wartime friends Franklin P. Adams, Harold Ross, Heywood Broun, and Alexander Woollcott were among the bantering quipsters who began meeting for daily lunches at the Algonquin Hotel. With so many clever wordsmiths, this self-named "vicious circle" soon became famous for its ingenious puns, quips, and insults appearing immediately in print in someone's column.

Vanity Fair's Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Robert Sherwood often dropped in for Algonquin lunches, as did aspiring playwrights Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. Press agents, actors, artists, and various guests joined the writers in an ever-fluctuating gathering. Like caricature, Algonquin humor glossed over bitter undercurrents with urbane gaiety and wit.

1. Franklin P. Adams / Will Cotton
2. Alexander Woollcott / William Auerbach-Levy
3. Dorothy Parker / Peggy Bacon
4. George S. Kaufman / William Auerbach-Levy
5. Thanatopsis Pleasure and Inside Straight Club / Will Cotton

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