A Mencken Chrestomathy

A Mencken Chrestomathy To read H L Mencken is to be confronted with the sad realization that most of what we find in newspapers and journals today is mere sludge While an Alexander Cockburn or a Christopher Hitchens can chu

  • Title: A Mencken Chrestomathy
  • Author: H.L. Mencken
  • ISBN: 9780394752099
  • Page: 142
  • Format: Paperback
  • To read H L Mencken is to be confronted with the sad realization that most of what we find in newspapers and journals today is mere sludge While an Alexander Cockburn or a Christopher Hitchens can churn out a brilliant, at times almost sublime piece of invective, the sad fact is that for all their talent, they are mere polemicists Mencken, however, was a true contrariaTo read H L Mencken is to be confronted with the sad realization that most of what we find in newspapers and journals today is mere sludge While an Alexander Cockburn or a Christopher Hitchens can churn out a brilliant, at times almost sublime piece of invective, the sad fact is that for all their talent, they are mere polemicists Mencken, however, was a true contrarian, and, for that reason, he had far scope for his talents It would be quite fair to call him a true American genius whose range and Mark Twain like skepticism leave the reader sometimes convulsed with laughter, sometimes completely enraged, but always transfixed with admiration.In this volume of than 600 pages, Mencken has collected than 100 choice passages, ranging from men, women, and southerners to religion, politics, music, literature, and the arts This selection is a pure delight, and, while not every piece entertains, one cannot help but be awed by this true polymath and regret not having him around today.Edited and annotated by H.L.M this is a selection from his out of print writings They come mostly from books the six of the PREJUDICES series, A BOOK OF BURLESQUES, IN DEFENSE OF WOMEN, NOTES ON DEMOCRACY, MAKING A PRESIDENT, A BOOK OF CALUMNY, TREATISE ON RIGHT AND WRONG but there are also magazine and newspaper pieces that never got between covers from the American Mercury, the Smart Set, and the Balti Evening Sun and some notes that were never previously published at all.Readers will find edification and amusement in his estimates of a variety of Americans Woodrow Wilson, Aimee Semple McPherson, Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II, James Gibbons Huneker, Rudolph Valentino, Calvin Coolidge, Ring Lardner, Theodore Dreiser, and Walt Whitman Those musically inclined will enjoy his pieces on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there is material for a hundred controversies in his selections on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.The author chose selections form his out of print writings his books, magazines and newspaper pieces from Barnes Noble

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    About " H.L. Mencken "

  • H.L. Mencken

    Henry Louis H.L Mencken became one of the most influential and prolific journalists in America in the 1920s and 30s, writing about all the shams and con artists in the world He attacked chiropractors and the Ku Klux Klan, politicians and other journalists Most of all, he attacked Puritan morality He called Puritanism, the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy At the height of his career, he edited and wrote for The American Mercury magazine and the Balti Sun newspaper, wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column for the Chicago Tribune, and published two or three books every year His masterpiece was one of the few books he wrote about something he loved, a book called The American Language 1919 , a history and collection of American vernacular speech It included a translation of the Declaration of Independence into American English that began, When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody When asked what he would like for an epitaph, Mencken wrote, If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl from American Public Media


  • Over the years I've read bits and pieces of this collection of bits and pieces. I was most fascinated with it when I was in my early twenties. My father was a big reader and he would, on occasion, ask me to get THE MENCKEN CHRESTOMATHY out of his study so he could read a passage to me and my brothers.I'm fairly certain Mencken compiled this himself and that it was published shortly before a stroke ended his ability to write. One has to know something about American newspapers and magazines of th [...]

  • "A Mencken Chrestomathy" was originally published in 1948, when H L Mencken was 68, shortly before a stroke ended his writing career. It's my favorite collection of Mencken's writings, possibly because he selected the contents himself. He had been a journalist, literary critic and cultural gadfly for many years, and much of his best work is here. It's perfect bathroom reading!

  • H. L. Mencken is one of those famous American writers that I'd heard about but never bothered to check out until after I watched The Wire, which is set in his native Baltimore and whose last episode had an epigraph by him. He's a worthy successor to Mark Twain in many ways: a strong background in journalism, biting satire, excellent with language, full of quotable zingers, and a very perceptive chronicler of life in America. The difference is that Mencken never made his mark with the kind of epo [...]

  • People need to read more Mencken."If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."

  • What can I say that critics haven’t been saying about him for a hundred years? Mencken lacerates more nonsense and makes more sense--common and uncommon--than everyone else that has lived or is to be born. Possibly the most respected journalist of all time. Father of muckraking, destroyer of popular myths, creator of unpopular truths. If you don’t like H.L.M. I probably won‘t like you.There, I bet no one said that before.

  • Mencken uses the word Chrestomathy to mean a selection of an author's writings chosen by the author. This is thus a diverse anthology of what HLM presumably regards as his best writing; and certainly it is nothing if not interesting. He skates with merry and cynical insouciance over an impressive range of subjects: politics, history, literature, religion, women, statesmen, etc. Often he is funny; always, acerbic.Sometimes his opinions go beyond any evidence he presents (indeed, evidence is somet [...]

  • His writing is beautiful and his ideas well thought out and expressed, though I disagree with most of them. I'm giving the book two (perhaps two and a half) stars because, literarily speaking, it was lovely. I can not, however, say that I enjoyed reading it. He is unendingly scathing, caustic, and cynical. The back cover promised "edification and amusement," and while I was occasionally amused, I was certainly not edified or uplifted in any way. I can't imagine how anyone could be uplifted by hi [...]

  • One of the all-time great curmudgeons/misanthropes of the early 20th century in the United States - I'm having a hard time thinking how to describe Mencken's writing style, so I'll paste the quotes from this book that I found on - at least one of which demonstrates his rather un-PC sensibilities. Nonethelest, for those who can get past that, and appreciate scathing social and political critique written with literary whomphz, Mencken is essential reading - also fans of Isherwood and Merle Miller [...]

  • Has America ever had a greater prose stylist than Henry Mencken? It's not just that each of his sentences has a logical essence to it that builds upon and adds to what came before it. It's that those sentences have a pulsing rhythm that seem to pour forth from him in a steadily increasing tempo, the logic and rhythm always in perfect harmony. The cumulative effect of reading Mencken is not unlike that of listening to Beethoven, whom Mencken adored; he was the most musical of writers (he was an a [...]

  • mencken was a cynical man. he covered the scopes monkey trial with acerbic jabs at southern fundamentalism. he was the original hater. he hates zoos and democracy and jesus and abraham and stupid people and women and italians and irishmen and germans and politicians and teachers and critics and soldiers and soldier's wives and babbits and non-babbits and children and adults and marriage and newspaper editors and newspaper readers and georgia and prohibition and telephones and ceremonies and east [...]

  • Mencken is a master of metaphor and a wonderful writer, but he is very caustic, and dangerous in large doses. I highly recommend reading Lloyd-Jones' "Spiritual Depression" along side of him.

  • In Mencken's Chrestomathy his witty writing predictably revolve around three separate but related themes; his belief in the clear superiority of one race over another, his aristocratic elitism, and gleeful advocacy for eugenics.See this ghoulish passage from his "Eugenic Note:"The Renaissance, it seems to me, is easily and sufficiently explained by the fact that the Black Death, raging from 1334 to 1351, exterminated such huge masses of the European proletariat that the average intelligence and [...]

  • Mencken is at his pagan best when he is talking about the differences between men and women, bachelors and married folk. There are some laugh out loud lines in this book that make it worth the read. Very Good.

  • Mencken is a curious figure. He was an unabashed elitist with an absolute disdain for much of humanity. He was also a lover of civilization, or at least certain of civilization's highest accomplishments like classical music, literature, and science. He was a devout classist, sometimes marking nine or more gradations of men (usually men) from the first-rate (a very, very select few) down through the ninth-raters and beyond. Mencken's humanity was a pyramid and for him only the tip-top really matt [...]

  • I would not recommend reading from start to finish. There are certainly some gems of genius here, but at least in this version it felt like serious digging between them. Additionally, it would be much more useful for a more cultivated collection with editorial headers to provide additional historical context. I felt many jokes and references were lost on me without such a guide. Recommend reading sections you've selected in advance.

  • (4.5 stars).If Mencken was a blogger in today's age he would be #1 by any standards. His writings epitomize an era and journalistic style at their best. You may not always agree with his views, but you'll never be bored reading Mencken, and you'll come to relish his one-liners and aphorisms just as those of Churchill, GB Shaw and others.

  • Mecken was a polemical journalist of the first rate, although he did not always have the right position he knew how to make his position known. His writing is charming and clever, I am particularly fond of his bold and humourous statements about the nature of government.

  • For a Nietzschean, Mencken was quite humorous, as well as culturally insightful. Except he suffered many of the same problems Nietzsche suffered from-- a man without a chest, complaining about other men who lacked chests.

  • If I had to live with one book, this would be it. I'm a huge Mencken fan, and there's plenty of his outside of this book that I need access to, but this is a great place to start.

  • A Mencken Chrestomathy is choice selection of H.L. Mencken's previously out-of-print writings. That alone is all that one needs to know.

  • It was three incidents that brought me to read H.L. Mencken: (1) Christopher Hitchens spoken very warmly and defensively about him (2) I'd read he was the heir to Mark Twain and perhaps the greatest prose writer of the 20th century and (3) Murray Rothbard said libertarians will love him. After, nay, while, reading this book, I understand much better Hitchens' regard for him, Rothbard's recommendation of him, and, though I'm certainly unequipped to answer his heredity or place among prose writers [...]

  • Smart and funny collectiontes:15.-laws19al vigor32mezzo on monogamy41war with women63.ultery is one of nature's devices for keeping the lowest orders of men from sinking to the level of downright simians; sometimes for a few brief years in youth, their wives and daughters are comelyd now and then the baron drinks more than he oughtuble standard explained126 and their wayse 3rd degree145nment: a conspiracy against the superior man201historians3rd rate men216eminentissimo281Valentino by 1 of the [...]

  • This 627-page tome may also be called "Mencken's Greatest Hits." It is a collection of essays or articles chosen by Himself. H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) was an early twentieth century author, columnist, critic, and essayist. The selections here, 241 of them, cover the gamut of human endeavor. He skewers government, religion, science, the arts, history, education, and the major events and personalities of his time with abandon. He may well be called a curmudgeon (and he's carried in The Portable Cur [...]

  • H.L Mencken is one of my favorite authors because he is honest in his assessment of institutions and humanity in general. A curmudgeon at heart, Mencken explores human nature and the consequences of that questionable trait. Chrestomathy is a collection of short essays, thoughts, that Mencken took from several of his full length collections. A journalist, a philosopher, and a social commentator, Mencken plays the parts well. The essays are clear and hold no punches.If you are a serious cynic this [...]

  • I barely skimmed the surface of this one, so I will simply say that a.) it's always comforting to come across folks who are ten billion times the cantankerous malcontent that you could ever hope to be and b.) it's inspiring (and simultaneously disheartening, since the odds are slim) to think to oneself that if only one could channel one's virulence with such verbal dexterity, one might be on to a promising career. Of course, this was an era in which Perez Hilton had yet to become a household nam [...]

  • This is not a book to sit down and read straight through. It's a book to savor a piece or two before bed, or in an idle moment. Mencken is a great and idiosyncratic stylist, and really fun to read. I became a fan from reading his obit in 1955, as a college freshman, and promptly bought an anthology of his writings, though not this one. I'm slowly working my way through this book, with great pleasure. I'm not as cynical as I was at nineteen, so I disagree with a lot of it. But that doesn't dimini [...]

  • Master of satire. Lampooner of fools. Packs more punch in one sentence than most in 10 volumes. He has to be one of the top essayists of his time. Love to read him, even when he is attacking my side. Still, he must be handled in mouthfuls. Chewing on Mencken for any length of time makes me feel down. As if there is nothing worthwhile and good in this world. For all his brilliance, his center, his core, is a bit hollow.

  • The Master Curmudgeon's best writings collected into one volume. If you're a fan of iconoclastic journalism, unabashed elitism, and genuinely witty satirical essays, then you really can't do much better than H.L. Mencken. He's a man who isn't afraid to demonstrate how much better than you he is, and do so without the democratic self-effacing attitude that most American intellectuals tend to affect.

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