Mencken: A Life

Front Cover
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 650 pages
1 Review
When H.L. Mencken died in 1956, he left behind well-ordered diaries, letters, and personal papers which biographer Fred Hobson has collected in the definitive portrait of a complex and colorful life. In" Mencken: A Life, " Hobson quotes liberally from Mencken's writings on every subject, from Americans ("the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag") to the English ("England gave us Puritanism, Germany gave us Pilsner") to the Jews (both "the most unpleasant race ever heard of" and "the chief dreamers of the human race, and beyond all comparison its greatest poets"). Along with Mencken's well-known literary slashings at the "boobsoisie" - with his trademark political "incorrectitude" - Hobson's access to thousands of pages of personal manuscripts allows a broad and thoughtful look at the demons and affections of the personal ife of the Sage of Baltimore.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Mencken: a life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Relying on newly available writings from the Mencken archives, Hobson ( Serpent in Eden: H.L. Mencken and the South , 1974) has painted a fascinating portrait of the "Billy Sunday of American literary ... Read full review

Review: Mencken: A Life

User Review  - Mjackman - Goodreads

I wish there were something like "Thompson on Mencken" or "Taibbi on Mencken" or somebody with as much sap as the old man but enough free time to write about him with verve or energy. Instead we get ... Read full review


The Fathers
Happy Days
The Education of Henry Mencken

19 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

Fred Hobson is a professor of American literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has written several books about the South, among them Tell About the South: The Southern Rage to Explain, a recipient of the Jules F. Landry Award, and South-Watching: Selected Essays of Gerald W. Johnson, which won the Lillian Smith Award. He is co-editor of the last of Mencken's papers opened to the public, published in Thirty-Five Years of Newspaper Work: A Memoir by H. L. Mencken, available from Johns Hopkins.

Bibliographic information