H. L. Mencken - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Stories about H. L. Mencken

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Picture of H. L. Mencken; twentieth century American journalist, literary critic, and political commentator
H. L. Mencken   (1880 - 1956)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  September 12, 1880
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died:  January 29, 1956
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Related authors:
Ambrose Bierce, Anita Loos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Theodore Dreiser, Upton Sinclair
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H. L. Mencken - LIFE STORIES
1/29/1956     H. L. Mencken & the "Booboisie"
When H. L. Mencken was eight years old, he wandered into his local newspaper, entranced by the workings of the hand press. The following Christmas he asked for his own small press and he was soon publishing his own newspaper. A decade later Mencken got his first job at the Baltimore Herald; soon, and for the next fifty years, he was the most famous journalist in America.
2/3/1931     Mencken, Arkansas, Blondes
On this day in 1931, the Arkansas legislature passed a motion to pray for the soul of H. L. Mencken. One of Mencken's Laws was "Nature abhors a moron," and one of his favorite pastimes was to attack the South; upon finding itself elevated to "the apex of moronia," Arkansas had apparently had enough. One spin-off from the Arkansas-baiting was Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
4/5/1926     Mencken, the Prostitute & the Police
On this day in 1926, H. L. Mencken was arrested in Boston for selling indecent literature. The literature in question was the short story "Hatrack," by Herbert Asbury, titled after its prostitute-heroine; this was published in Mencken's American Mercury, as part of his longstanding war against Puritanism (i.e. "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy").
12/28/1917     Mencken's Tub & Hot Water
On this day in 1917 H. L. Mencken's "A Neglected Anniversary," his hoax article on the American invention of the bathtub, was published in the New York Evening Mail. Mencken's lifelong campaign to deride and derail Main Street America -- the "booboisie" -- had a number of easy victories, but this joke at the expense of the squeaky-clean succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
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H. L. Mencken on American Literature
by H. L. Mencken, S. T. Joshi (Editor)
literary criticism
Happy Days, 1880-1892
Heathen Days: 1890-1936
Mencken Chrestomathy
essays, anthology
The Vintage Mencken
essays, anthology
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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes
by Anita Loos
Mencken: A Life
by Fred C. Hobson
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"Mencken: America's Critic"
The Atlantic examines Mencken's attitudes toward America, as expressed in articles written by and about the author over the years, and addresses topics including prohibition, war, democracy, language, culture, and anti-semitism. Links to the original articles are also provided.

"If Mencken had any moral principle at the base of his prickly prose, it was a brand of libertarianism that, for him, was close to a religion. Nothing seemed to matter more to him than uncensored self-expression. He did not always win friends, nor did he set any standards for politically correct journalism. But he remains a legend among American writers, and his words are unlikely to be forgotten."
C-Span's American Writers
Find a brief overview of the writer's life, career, and accomplishments, and a two-hour long biographical video titled "H.L. Mencken: The American Language." Also offers classroom resources including a lesson plan, crossword puzzle, and facts About H.L. Mencken and The American Language. Biographer Marion Elizabeth Rogers, in the video:

"But I think that what makes him relevant right now is that while we're undergoing a major-C change in the world where the concept of freedom is very very important. But Mencken stood for that freedom. He was fighting for the liberties of all Americans, including African Americans, saying things that few people were saying in those times. One of his contemporaries, Gerald Johnson, said it best. He said 'Wit and words are what made Mencken entertaining. But honesty and courage are what made him great.'"
Henry Louis Mencken (1880 - 1956)
This fan page features a Mencken biography, quotations, photographs, and a variety of electronic texts on America, government, religion, law, freedom of thought and speech, court trials, prohibition, democracy and other subjects. From the introduction:

"The most prominent newspaperman, book reviewer, and political commentator of his day, Henry Louis Mencken was a libertarian before the word came into usage. ... Frequent targets of his lance were Franklin Roosevelt and New Deal politics, Comstocks, hygenists, 'uplifters,' social reformers of any stripe, boobs & quacks, and the insatiable American appetite for nonsense and gaudy sham. But his life was not defined by negativity. . . ."
Mencken Society
Offers information about upcoming events and conferences, and links to biographies, localities from the Mencken's life (e.g., his home in Baltimore), an FAQ, bibliography, quotes, and a small collection of criticism and analysis.
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February 21, 2018
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