H.L. Mencken's Smart Set Criticism

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Regnery Publishing, Dec 1, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 349 pages
2 Reviews

"One finds in Mr. Nolte's selection the original reviews, then so unconventional, of Conrad, Huneker, and Dreiser...I am glad to find old pieces I remember and that Mencken never collected - especially the summaries of periods in his life...And it is therefore very much worth while to have Mr. Nolte's collection of Mencken's earlier, more spontaneous work."

-Edmund Wilson, The New Yorker
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

Now that I am in Baltimore again, I turn to reading one of her most favorite literary sons - the fiery critic Mencken. He was one of my favorites when I was younger, and he is almost as good as I ... Read full review

Review: HL Mencken's Smart Set Criticism

User Review  - Adrian - Goodreads

Now that I am in Baltimore again, I turn to reading one of her most favorite literary sons - the fiery critic Mencken. He was one of my favorites when I was younger, and he is almost as good as I ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

AMERICAN CULTURE
1
Diagnosis of Our Cultural Malaise
2
Our Literary Centers
9
CRITICS AND CRITICISM
15
The Professor Doctors
19
Paul Elmer More
21
Private Reflections
23
Professor Pattee and Professor Sherman
26
Mush for the Multitude
166
Lachrymose Love
170
LITERATI
175
Popularity Index
176
Twain and Howells
178
Our One Authentic Giant
179
Final Estimate
182
The Prophet of the Superman
190

THE ART OF FICTION
30
The Novelist as Messiah
31
A Definition
34
O Henry
38
The Raw Material of Fiction
39
Point of View
45
THE DRAMA AND SOME DRAMATISTS
49
Getting Rid of the Actor
54
Chestertons Picture of Shaw
57
Shaw as Platitudinarian
60
Strindberg A Final Estimate
64
The Greatest Stylist of Modern Times
68
POETRY
72
Lizette Woodworth Reese
73
Ezra Pound
76
The Troubadours ATwitter
79
Holy Writ
88
MUSIC
95
Huneker in Motley
96
An Apostle of Rhythm
99
A FirstRate Music Critic
103
AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
106
George Moore
109
Henry Ford
111
In the Altogether
115
POLITICS AND POLITICIANS
117
The Style of Woodrow
119
Vox Populi
121
PSYCHOLOGY
131
The New Thought Dreams and Christian Science
133
Zuleika Dobson
137
Havelock Ellis
142
Osculation Anatomized
144
The Anatomy of Ochlocracy
151
THE CRITIC AS DEMOLITION EXPERT
157
The Way to Happiness
158
To Drink or Not to Drink
159
A Novel Thus Begins
160
A NonCure for the Worlds Ills
161
A Faded Charmer
162
Earnest Messages
163
Brief Dismissals
165
Transvaluation of Morals
194
Importer of Foreign Flavors
199
Hunekers Confessions
204
A Note on Oscar Wilde
207
The Accounting of a Tartuffe
208
Portrait of a Tragic Comedian
210
H G Wells Redivivus
218
Probing the Russian Psyche
224
Conrads SelfPortrait
230
Victory
232
A Good Book on Conrad
237
Conrad Revisited
239
A Modern Tragedy
244
The Creed of a Novelist
248
De Profundis
256
A Gamey Old Gaul
260
Her First Novel
263
Willa Gather vs William Allen White
264
Youth and the Bright Medusa
266
A Refined Scoffer
268
Something New under the Sun
272
The Two Andersons
273
Muddleheaded Art
276
The Story of an American Family
279
Portrait of an American Citizen
282
Two Years Too Late
286
A Step Forward
287
MISCELLANY
289
A Book for the Gourmet
290
The Nature of Vice
292
Novels to Reread
294
A Review of Reviewers
298
An Autobiographical Note
302
The Incomparable Billy
303
The Irish Renaissance
309
Taking Stock
314
The Negro as Author
320
Scherzo for the Bassoon
322
EPILOGUE Fifteen Years
324
INDEX
335
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

H. L. Mencken 1880-1956 H. L. (Henry Louis) Mencken was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 12, 1880. He considered Maryland to be his 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. Mencken died in his sleep on January 29, 1956. He was interred in Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery.

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