A Mencken chrestomathy, Volume 1949

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A. A. Knopf, 1949 - Literary Collections - 627 pages
37 Reviews
In my title I revive the word chrestomathy in its true sense of 'a collection of choice passages from an author or authors, ' and ignore the late edition of 'especially one complied to assist in the acquirement of a language.' In the latter significance the term is often used by linguists, and some of the chrestomathies issued by them in recent years.

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A remarkable writer and thinker. - Goodreads
His writing on boxing reeks of sweat and sawdust. - Goodreads
This is his own selection of his best. - Goodreads
He's an excellent writer. - Goodreads
Pithy writing and Misanthropy at its best. - Goodreads
That is the mark of a good writer to me. - Goodreads

Review: A Mencken Chrestomathy

User Review  - Rachel - Goodreads

Wonderful writing style and insight into the time period of Mencken's youth. Particularly fascinating to read while I was living in Baltimore. Read full review

Review: A Mencken Chrestomathy

User Review  - Jim Morris - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

Contents

Homo Sapiens
3
Coda
9
The TruthSeeker
15
Copyright

81 other sections not shown

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About the author (1949)

H.L. Mencken was born in Baltimore, Maryland, a city he considered home despite his many years in New York. As a child he attended Professor Friedrich Knapp's Institute, a private school for children of German descent. He completed his secondary education at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated at the age of 16. Mencken wanted to be a writer but was obligated to work in his father's cigar factory. When his father died suddenly in 1899, Mencken immediately sought a job at the Baltimore Herald. Through he began with no experience in journalism, he quickly learned every job at the newspaper and at age 25 became its editor. Mencken went on to build himself a reputation as one of America's most brilliant writers and literary critics. His basic approach was to question everything and to accept no limits on personal freedom. He attacked organized religion, American cultural and literary standards, and every aspect of American life that he found shallow, ignorant, or false - which was almost everything. From the 1920's until his death, Mencken's sharp wit and penetrating social commentary made him one of the most highly regarded - and fiercely hated - of American social critics. He was later memorialized in the dramatic portrait of the cynical journalist in the play and film Inherit the Wind. Shortly after World War I, Mencken began a project that was to fascinate him for the rest of his life: a study of American language and how it had evolved from British English. In 1919 he published The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. To this and his publisher's surprise, the book sold out quickly; its wit and nonscholarly approach attracted many readers who would not normally buy a book on such a subject. In 1936, a revised and enlarged edition was published, and in 1945 and 1948, supplements were added. The work shows not only how American English differs from British English but how the 300 year American experience shaped American dialect. Thus the book, still considered a classic in its field, is both a linguistic and social history of the United States.

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