H.L. Mencken (Google eBook)

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Mercer University Press, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 183 pages
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Over a career that spanned half of a century, Henry Louis Mencken published more than 10 million words. More than a million were written about him, many of which, Mencken liked to remark, were highly condemnatory. He was called, with good reason, the most powerful private citizen in America during the 1920s.This lively introduction to Mencken's life and work begins with a concise biographical portrait before proceeding to a consideration of the five major periods of the renowned Baltimorean's career: his literary apprenticeship; the growth of his national reputation; his fame and unprecedented popularity during the 1920s (when college students would flash the Paris-green cover of the American Mercury as a badge of sophistication); the decline of his reputation during the Depression; and his renewed popularity during the 1940s, with the publication of his autobiographical trilogy, the Days books. In discussing this varied career, Vincent Fitzpatrick touches upon all the roles that Mencken played: journalist; editor; redoubtable critic of literature, culture, and politics; philologist; and autobiographer. Drawing upon Mencken's extensive correspondence of more than 100,000 letters, the book stresses his unflagging belief in the need for free speech (up to the limits of common decency). Indeed, in the end Mencken proved a significant American civil libertarian.Iconoclast, critic, satirist, "individualist," H. L. Mencken offered unique insights into American life. His lifelong celebration of the freedom to dissent marks his most enduring contribution to a nation that gave him such a wealth of material and so much delight.
  

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Contents

The Bourgeois Baltimorean
11
19081919
31
The American Circus 19201929
64
19301939
104
19401956
121
A Scratch on a Crumbling Stone
137
Permissions
171
Copyright

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Page xi - The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by such learned dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world...

About the author (1989)

Fred Hobson is professor of American literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of Mencken: A Life and Serpent in Eden: H. L. Mencken and the South. Vincent Fitzpatrick is assistant curator of the Mencken Collection at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and the author of H. L. Mencken. Bradford Jacobs is former editorial page editor of the Baltimore Evening Sun and the author of Thimbleriggers: The Law v. Governor Marvin Mandel.

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