Mencken on Mencken: A New Collection of Autobiographical Writings

Overview

Perhaps America's foremost literary stylist and most mordant wit, Mencken's most engaging writing told about his own life and experiences. In Mencken on Mencken, veteran Mencken editor and scholar S. T. Joshi has assembled a hefty collection of the best of Mencken's autobiographical pieces that have not appeared previously in book form. These forty-four selections cover a wide variety of topics ranging from incidents from Mencken's everyday life to reflections on friends and colleagues to his careers as author, ...

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Mencken on Mencken: A New Collection of Autobiographical Writings

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Overview

Perhaps America's foremost literary stylist and most mordant wit, Mencken's most engaging writing told about his own life and experiences. In Mencken on Mencken, veteran Mencken editor and scholar S. T. Joshi has assembled a hefty collection of the best of Mencken's autobiographical pieces that have not appeared previously in book form. These forty-four selections cover a wide variety of topics ranging from incidents from Mencken's everyday life to reflections on friends and colleagues to his careers as author, journalist, and editor, to his travels abroad.

As a journalist in Baltimore, Mencken encountered many unusual characters: a professional mourner hired by a beer distiller, a wagon driver who slept through the great Baltimore fire of 1904, a confirmed bachelor who left town to avoid the clutches of a predatory widow. He provides accounts of literary figures he knew, such as Theodore Dreiser, and ruminations on his work at the Baltimore Sun and as editor for the magazines Smart Set and the American Mercury. A superb travel writer, Mencken gives us a rollicking account of beer-drinking in Munich, astute observations of political unrest in Cuba, and carefully drawn scenes from a long tour he and his wife made of the Mediterranean in 1934.

Joshi has thoroughly annotated the pieces and also compiled an extensive glossary of names and terms that Mencken mentions. Mencken on Mencken offers a fully rounded self-portrait of one of America's most colorful personalities and most extraordinary men of letters.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
The reminiscences about youth and journalism are wonderful, the rest somewhat less so. But it's all Mencken, and if you're even half as addicted to him as I am, you'll be thrilled to have yet more of him to read.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
Mencken (1880–1956), one of America's most recognized and iconoclastic journalists, estimated that he wrote between ten and 15 million words in his lifetime, and he compiled selected pieces into three autobiographical books: Happy Days, Heathen Days, and Newspaper Days. Joshi (ed., H.L. Mencken on Religion), a Mencken bibliographer and scholar, has collected an additional 44 pieces that he hopes will be considered the fourth book in the "Days" series. Selections cover a 50-year time period and are arranged chronologically by the events they discuss within the categories of personal memories, Mencken's writing life, philosophical musings, and travel narratives. Mencken's lively prose might entertain as he relates a love story with an unexpected ending or provoke as he expresses strong opinions about religion, human nature, or politics. His colorful use of language and interesting turns of phrase will engage even the novice Mencken reader. Joshi includes useful contextualizing notes and biographical information. VERDICT Mencken aficionados and scholars will be pleased to have another volume of his collected works. Libraries with Mencken collections will wish to purchase this.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807135921
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,459,290
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

S. T. Joshi is the author of H. L. Mencken: An Annotated Bibliography and editor of Mencken's America, H. L. Mencken on Religion, and H. L. Mencken on American Literature. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

A note on this edition 13

Prologue Henry Louis Mencken (1905) 15

Memories of a Long Life

Early Days 17

Old Days 18

Surdi Audiunt 21

The Passing of "The Hill" 27

West Baltimore 32

Mr. Kipling 35

Man of Means 37

Tale of a Traveller 38

An Evening on the House 45

Baltimoriana 52

Obsequies in the Grand Manner 55

Love Story 62

The Life of an Artist 70

James Huneker 76

The Life of Tone 85

Author and Journalist

A Footnote on Journalism 92

Reminiscences of the Herald 96

On Breaking into Type 99

Walter Abell and the Sun 103

Twenty-five Years of the Evening Sun 106

A Word about the Smart Set 109

Foreword to A Bibliography of the Writings of H. L. Mencken 116

Five Years of the American Mercury 117

Ten Years of the American Mercury 123

Memoirs of an Editor 126

The Worst Trade of Them All 131

Why I Am Not a Book Collector 135

Thinker

Off the Grand Banks 139

Meditations at Vespers 142

What Is This Talk about Utopia? 145

What I Believe 148

On the Meaning of Life 158

"Generally Political" 160

World Traveler

At the Edge of the Spanish Main 168

The Beeriad 172

At Large in London 184

Reminiscences of 1917 197

The Black Country 200

West Indian Notes 203

Our Footloose Correspondents 206

Foreign Parts 208

The Adriatic: East Side 224

Epilogue

Henry Louis Mencken (1936) 229

Notes 231

Glossary of Names 239

Bibliography of Originals Appearances 255

Index 257

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