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.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Bourgeois Baltimorean
The American Circus 19201929
A Scratch on a Crumbling Stone
Alfred American Language American literature American Mercury American Mercury Adventure American Tragedy appeared August Mencken Autobiographical Notes Baltimore Evening Sun Baltimorean Book of Prefaces book's Boston Carl Bode chapter column Courtesy Enoch Pratt decade December discussion Dreiser-Mencken Letters Edited editor Enoch Pratt Free EPFL Essays Fecher Forgue Fred Hobson Free Lance George Jean Nathan H. L. Mencken Happy Days Hatrack Henry Louis Mencken Hollins Street Iconoclast January journalist June Knopf later laugh literary criticism magazine Manchester marked Mencken and Nathan Mencken Bibliography Mencken called Mencken Chrestomathy Mencken explains Mencken found Mencken Letters Mencken remarks Mencken viewed Mencken wrote Menckeniana Moreover Newspaper Days Nietzsche Notes on Democracy novel offers Pratt Free Library preface Prejudices President prose publication published Puritanism readers religion Review Riggio S. T. Joshi Sara Scopes trial Scott Fitzgerald Series New York Shaw Smart Set Stenerson story Sunpapers Theodore Dreiser Treatise on Right Vincent Fitzpatrick volume William writing