A MENCKEN CHRESTOMATHY HIS OWN SELECTION OF HIS CHOICEST WRITING
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Edited and annotated by H.L.M., this is a selection from his out-of-print writings. They come mostly from books—the six installments of the Prejudices series, A Book of Burlesques, In Defense of Women, Notes on Democracy, Making a President, A Book of Calumny, Treatise on Right and Wrong—but there are also magazine and newspaper pieces that never got between covers (from the American Mercury, the Smart Set, and the Baltimore Evening Sun) and some notes that were never previously published at all. Readers will find edification and amusement in his estimates of a variety of Americans—Woodrow Wilson, Aimee Semple McPherson, Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II, James Gibbons Huneker, Rudolph Valentino, Calvin Coolidge, Ring Lardner, Theodore Dreiser, and Walt Whitman. Those musically inclined will enjoy his pieces on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there is material for a hundred controversies in his selections on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.
NOTES ON DEMOCRACY by H. L. MENCKEN JONATHAN. Contents include: I DEMOCRATIC MAN 1 HIS APPEARANCE IN THE WORLD 9 2 VARIETIES OF HOMO SAPIENS 15 3 THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY 21 POLITICS UNDER DEMOCRACY 29 5 THE ROLE OF THE HORMONES 35 6 ENVY AS A PHILOSOPHY 42 Jx LIBERTY AND DEMOCRATIC MAN 51 THE EFFECTS UPON PROGRESS 58 9 THE ETERNAL MOB 7 2 II THE DEMOCRATIC STATE 1 THE TWO KINDS OF DEMOCRACY 79 2 THE POPULAR WILL 85 3 DISPROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION 97 4 THE POLITICIAN UNDER DEMOCRACY 1 07 5 UTOPIA 115 6 THE OCCASIONAL EXCEPTION 124 7 THE MAKER OF LAWS 131 8 THE REWARDS OF VIRTUE 139 9 FOOTNOTE ON LAME DUCKS 148 5 CONTENTS PAGE III DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY 1 THE WILL TO PEACE 157 2 THE DEMOCRAT AS MORALIST 1 62 3 WHERE PURITANISM FAILS 1 77 4 CORRUPTION UNDER DEMOCRACY 187 IV CODA 1 THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY 2O7 2 LAST WORDS 2l8. DEMOCRATIC MAN: HIS APPEARANCE IN THE WORLD. DEMOCRACY came into the Western World to the tune of sweet, soft music. There was, at the start, no harsh bawling from below there was only a dulcet twittering from above. Democratic man thus began as an ideal being, full of ineffable virtues and romantic wrongs in brief, as Rous seaus noble savage in smock and jerkin, brought out of the tropical wilds to shame the lords and masters of the civilized lands. The fact continues to have important consequences to this day. It remains impossible, as it was in the eighteenth century, to separate the democratic idea from the theory that there is a mystical merit, an esoteric and ineradicable rectitude, in the man at the bottom of the scale - that inferiority, by some strange magic, becomes a sort of superiority - nay, the superiority of superiorities. Everywhere on earth, save where the enlightenment of the modern age is confessedly in transient eclipse, the move ment is toward the completer and more enamoured enfranchisement of the lower orders. Down there, one hears, lies a deep, illimitable reservoir of righteousness and wisdom, unpolluted by the corruption of privilege. What baffles statesmen is to be solved by the people, instantly and by a sort of seraphic intuition. Their yearnings are pure they alone are capable of a perfect patriot ism in them is the only hope of peace and happi ness on this lugubrious ball. The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy This notion, as I hint, originated in the poetic fancy of gentlemen on the upper levels - senti mentalists who, observing to their distress that the ass was over-laden, proposed to reform trans port by putting him into the cart. A stale Chris tian bilge ran through their veins, though many of them, as it happened, toyed with what is now called Modernism. They were the direct ancestors of the more saccharine Liberals of to-day, who yet mouth their tattered phrases and dream their pre posterous dreams. I can find no record that these phrases, in the beginning, made much impression upon the actual objects of their rhetoric. Early democratic man seems to have given little thought to the democratic ideal, and less veneration. What he wanted was something concrete and highly materialistic - more to eat, less work, higher wages, lower taxes. He had no apparent belief in the acroamatic virtue of his own class, and certainly none in its capacity to rule. His aim was not to exterminate the baron, but simply to bring the baron back to a proper discharge of baronial busi ness. When, by the wild shooting that naturally accompanies all mob movements, the former end was accidentally accomplished, and men out of the mob began to take on baronial airs, the mob itself quickly showed its opinion of them by butchering them deliberately and in earnest. Once the pikes were out, indeed, it was a great deal more dangerous to be a tribune of the people than to be an ornament of the old order...
In addition to the sound research findings, theory, and practice information that you have come to depend on with the past two editions, the third edition of Self-Esteem Research, Theory, and Practice brings with it much newly revised and updated information to reflect the changes in the field of self-esteem at large. New key features include: * New major theories of self-esteem * New chapter on the new positive psychology * 150 new references * Written in a clear, concise style.
"I am quite convinced that all religions, at bottom, are pretty much alike. On the surface they may seem to differ greatly, but what appears on the surface is not always religion. Go beneath it, and one finds invariably the same sense of helplessness before the cosmic mysteries, and the same pathetic attempt to resolve it by appealing to higher powers."--from Treatise on the Gods H. L. Mencken is perhaps best known for his scathing political satire. But politicians, as far as Mencken was concerned, had no monopoly on self-righteous chest-thumping, deceit, and thievery. He also found religion to be an adversary worthy of his attention and, in Treatise on the Gods, he offers some of his best shots, a choreographed cannonade. Mencken examines religion everywhere, from India to Peru, from the myths of Egypt to the traditional beliefs of America's Bible Belt. He compares Incas and Greeks, examines doctrines, dogmas, sacred texts, heresies, and ceremonies. He ranges far and wide, but returns at last to the subject that most provokes him: Christianity. He reviews the history of the Church and its founders. "It is Tertullian who is credited with the motto, Credo, quia absurdum est: I believe because it is incredible. Needless to say, he began life as a lawyer." Mencken is no less interested in the dissidents: "The Reformers were men of courage, but not many of them were intelligent." Against the old-time religion of fellow countrymen, Mencken posed as a figure of old-time skepticism, and he reaped the whirlwind. Controversial even before it was published in 1930, Treatise on the Gods remains what its author wished it to be: the plain, clear challenge of honest doubt.
H. L. Mencken stipulated that this memoir remain sealed in a vault for thirty-five years after his death. For good reason: My Life as Author and Editor is so telling and uproariously opinionated that is might have provoked a storm of libel suits. As he recounts his career as a critic, essayist, and editor of the ground-breaking magazine Smart Set, Mencken brings us face to face with the literary aristocracy of his day, from the dour womanizer Theodore Dreiser to F. Scott Fitzgerald, drowning his gifts in alcohol. Here, too, are the hacks, poseurs, and bohemian crackpots who flocked around them. Most of all, here is Mencken himself, defying censors and Prohibition agents with equal aplomb in an age when literature was a contact sport.
No one ever argued more forcefully or with such acerbic wit against the foolish aspects of religion as H. L. Mencken (1880-1956). As a journalist, he gained national prominence through his newspaper columns describing the now-famous 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted Fundamentalists against a public school teacher who dared to teach evolution. But both before and after the Scopes trial, Mencken spent much of his career as a columnist and book reviewer lampooning the ignorant piety of gullible Americans.S. T. Joshi has brought together and organized many of Mencken's writings on religion in this provocative and entertaining collection. The articles here presented demonstrate that Mencken canvassed the entire range of religious phenomena of his time, from evangelists Billy Sunday and Aime Semple McPherson, to Christian Scientists, and theosophists and spiritualists. On a more serious note are his discussions of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and the scientific worldview as a rival to religious belief. Also included are poignant autobiographical accounts of Mencken's own upbringing and his core beliefs on religion, ethics, and politics.If anything was sacred to Mencken, it was the right to speak one's mind freely, and many of his attacks are directed against those true believers who he felt tried to foist their beliefs on others to stifle independent thinking. For everyone who values freethought and sharp intelligence, this collection of articles by America's premier iconoclast is a must.S. T. Joshi is a freelance writer, scholar, and editor whose previous books include Documents of American Prejudice; In Her Place: A Documentary History of Prejudice against Women; God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong; Atheism: A Reader; H. L. Mencken on Religion; The Agnostic Reader; and The Angry Right: Why Conservatives Keep Getting It Wrong.
A towering figure on the American cultural landscape, H.L. Mencken stands out as one of our most influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts--the twentieth century's greatest newspaper journalist, a famous wit, and a constant figure of controversy. Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the finest book ever published about this giant of American letters. Rodgers illuminates both the public and the private man, covering the many love affairs, his happy marriage at the age of 50 to Sara Haardt, and his complicated but stimulating friendship with the famed theater critic George Jean Nathan. Rodgers vividly recreates Mencken's era: the glittering tapestry of turn-of-the-century America, the roaring twenties, depressed thirties, and the home front during World War II. But the heart of the book is Mencken. When few dared to shatter complacencies, Mencken fought for civil liberties and free speech, playing a prominent role in the Scope's Monkey Trial, battling against press censorship, and exposing pious frauds and empty uplift. The champion of our tongue in The American Language, Mencken also played a pivotal role in defining American letters through The Smart Set and The American Mercury, magazines that introduced such writers as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes. Drawing on research in more than sixty archives including private collections in the United States and in Germany, previously unseen, on exclusive interviews with Mencken's friends, and on his love letters and FBI files, here is the full portrait of one of America's most colorful and influential men. "This biography, the best ever on the sage of Baltimore, is exhaustive but never exhausting, and offers readers more than moderate intelligence and an awfully good time." --Martin Nolan, Boston Globe
Before there was any such thing as political correctness, H. L. Mencken was flouting it. He was also cheerfully deriding the precursors of family values and lambasting the guardians of public virtue. This historic new collection is further evidence that Mencken was our most astute, stylish, and biliously funny commentator on the eternal American quackeries. A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (a word meaning “a collection of choice passages from an author or authors”) was compiled by the sage of Baltimore before he suffered the stroke that ended his career and has only now been retrieved from his private papers by the columnist and Mencken biographer Terry Teachout. Its 238 selections—many of which have never before been published in book form—encompass subjects from Americana (“The Commonwealth of Morons”) to men and women (“Sex on the Stage”) and from criminology (“More and Better Psychopaths”) to the pursuit of happiness (“Alcohol”). The result is Mencken at his most engaging, maddening, heretical, and hilarious.
Collected in print for the first time is Mencken's scathingly honest and fiercely intelligent coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial, with his perceptive rendering of the courtroom drama, piercing portrayals of key figures Scopes, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, and his ferocious take on the fundamentalist culture surrounding the case. It also includes his withering coverage of Bryan's death just days after the trial, as well as a complete transcript of the trial's legendary exchange: Darrow's blistering cross-examination of Bryan.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
In January 1991 the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened the sealed manuscript of H. L. Mencken's "Thirty-five Years of Newspaper Work." Written in 1941-42 and bequeathed to the library under time-lock upon Mencken's death in 1956, it is among the very last of his papers opened to the public. Thirty-five Years of Newspaper Work, a one-volume abridgement of Mencken's much longer memoir, vividly pictures the excitement of newspaper life in the heyday of print journalism. Here Mencken colorfully recalls his years - mostly with the Baltimore Evening Sun - as a reporter and a writer of editorials that always caused a stir among the public and uproars of indignation among his enemies. The volume includes important new material on his coverage of presidential candidates from 1912 to 1940 (Mencken on Harding's inaugural address: "a string of wet sponges") and the 1925 trial of the man he called the "infidel Scopes." Mencken also describes his brief stint as a war correspondent on Germany's subzero Eastern Front in 1917 and the perilous voyage back, which took him through Havana just as a revolution was breaking out. (He stayed to cover it.) He writes, with curious detachment, about the "inevitable" war and likely fate of Germany's Jews during a final visit to his ancestral homeland in summer 1938. And he describes colorful Baltimore personalities, shares local gossip, and offers candid - usually unflattering - portraits of the politicians and clerics he mostly despised.
Essayist and newspaper columnist Fanny Fern enjoyed a rapid -- and highly unlikely -- rise to fame after an early life beset by tragedy and misfortune. Soon after accepting the position that established her as the highest-paid female writer in the United States, Fern began work on Ruth Hall, a highly autobiographical novel that paralleled her own life experiences in many regards. Today, scholars and critics agree that the novel is an exceptionally well-written exploration of what life as a female literary icon was like in the late nineteenth century.
Introduction by Russell Banks. The legendary book about writing by the legendary writer is back! Frank O’Connor was one of the twentieth century’s greatest short story writers, and one of Ireland’s greatest authors ever. Now, O’Connor’s influential and sought-after book on the short story is back. The Lonely Voice offers a master class with the master. With his sharp wit and straightforward prose, O’Connor not only discusses the techniques and challenges of a form in which "a whole lifetime must be crowded into a few minutes," but he also delves into a passionate consideration of his favorite writers and their greatest works, including Chekhov, Hemingway, Kipling, Joyce, and others.
A remarkable compilation of literary writings by the critically acclaimed author of Autobiography of Red features an array of original poetry, essays, a screenplay, and a libretto that explores the nature and mechanics of the human act of decreation as revealed in the lives of Sappho, Marguerite Porete, Simone Weil, Virginia Woolf, and her own relationship with her mother. Reprint.
Isaac Asimov's death on April 6, 1992, was a great loss to the world of literary science and freethought. The prolific author's vision is unmatched today, and his pointed honesty shines through in The Roving Mind, now reissued in this special tribute edition.This collection of essays is wide-ranging, reflecting Asimov's extraordinary skill in disseminating knowledge from across the spectrum of human thought. Some of the areas explored in this volume of 62 essays include creationism, pseudoscience, censorship, population, philosophy of science, transportation, computers and corporations of the future, and astronomy. His predictions about cloning which has only recently become the topic of public debate the theory of technophobia, and other scientific developments are astounding. In a lighter tone, Asimov includes several personal stories from his life including thoughts on his style of writing and memories of family in younger days.With tributes by Arthur C. Clarke, L. Sprague de Camp, Harlan Ellison, Kendrick Frazier, Martin Gardner, Donald Goldsmith, Stephen Jay Gould, E. C. Krupp, Frederik Pohl, and Carl SaganThe collection is very readable and thus is accessible to a wide audience of nonscientists as well as scientists. Both adults and young people should find it interesting. -The Physics Teacher. . . Asimov's best include pieces detailing the present mysteries of solar astronomy, removing the mythology of cloning (backyard gardners do it all the time), and pointing out deficiencies in the supposed chemistry expertise of Sherlock Holmes. -Nature