A Second Mencken Chrestomathy by H.L. Mencken

By H.L. Mencken

This glorious Sequel to the best-selling A Mencken Chrestomathy of approximately part a century in the past is stuffed with the iconoclastic logic that marked H. L. Mencken's astounding occupation because the optimum American social critic of the 20 th century. amassed by way of Mencken himself prior to he died in 1956, this moment chrestomathy ("a selection of chosen literary passages," with the accessory at the tom) comprises writings a few number of topics - politics, warfare, track, literature, women and men, legal professionals, brethren of the material. a few of his essays have beguiling titles - "Notes for a good Autobiography," "The Commonwealth of Morons," "Le Vice Anglais," "Acres of Babble," "Hooch for the Artist." them all are a excitement to learn, and we're reminded that what Mencken wrote within the early years of this century continues to be acceptable to a really diversified the US.

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By H.L. Mencken

This glorious Sequel to the best-selling A Mencken Chrestomathy of approximately part a century in the past is stuffed with the iconoclastic logic that marked H. L. Mencken's astounding occupation because the optimum American social critic of the 20 th century. amassed by way of Mencken himself prior to he died in 1956, this moment chrestomathy ("a selection of chosen literary passages," with the accessory at the tom) comprises writings a few number of topics - politics, warfare, track, literature, women and men, legal professionals, brethren of the material. a few of his essays have beguiling titles - "Notes for a good Autobiography," "The Commonwealth of Morons," "Le Vice Anglais," "Acres of Babble," "Hooch for the Artist." them all are a excitement to learn, and we're reminded that what Mencken wrote within the early years of this century continues to be acceptable to a really diversified the US.

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But the American Republic is not necessarily identical with the American people; they might overturn it tomorrow and set up a monarchy, and still remain the same people. The truth is that, as a distinct nation, they go back fully three hundred years, and that even their government is older than that of most other nations. Moreover, it is absurd to say that there is anything properly describable as youthfulness in the American outlook. It is not that of young men, but that of old men. All the characteristics of senescence are in it: a great distrust of ideas, an habitual timorousness, a harsh fidelity to a few fixed beliefs, a touch of mysticism.

And with the concept of wrongness, of course, he always confuses the concept of mere differentness—to him the two are indistinguishable. Anything strange is to be combatted; it is of the Devil. The mob-man cannot grasp ideas in their native nakedness. They must be dramatized and personalized for him, and provided with either white wings or forked tails. All discussion of them, to interest him, must take the form of a pursuit and scotching of demons. He cannot think of a heresy without thinking of a heretic to be caught, condemned and burned.

Even those who find Mencken’s philosophy tonic are likely to shrink from some of its specific applications. His hardness too often shades into outright brutality; he is almost always simplistic, and very often demonstrably wrong on factual matters. Yet the substance of his opinions has surprisingly little to do with the pleasure we take in his way of expressing them. He once called poetry “a comforting piece of fiction set to more or less lascivious music,” a sentiment echoed elsewhere in this volume.

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