Up from Methodism: A Memoir of a Man Gone to the Devil

Up from Methodism: A Memoir of a Man Gone to the Devil

by Herbert Asbury
     
 

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In 1926, while a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Herbert Asbury, great-great-nephew of Francis Asbury, the first American Bishop of the Methodist Church, submitted a chapter of his profane work-in-progress, an almost spiteful memoir of his boyhood in the Ozark town of Farmington, Missouri, to H.L Mencken’s American Mercury magazine. Mencken… See more details below

Overview


In 1926, while a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Herbert Asbury, great-great-nephew of Francis Asbury, the first American Bishop of the Methodist Church, submitted a chapter of his profane work-in-progress, an almost spiteful memoir of his boyhood in the Ozark town of Farmington, Missouri, to H.L Mencken’s American Mercury magazine. Mencken published “Hatrack,” the story of the town’s prostitute, in the April issue. The Mercury was then banned in Boston at the incitement of J. Frank Chase, the head of the New England Watch and Ward Society, who called the story “bad, vile, raw stuff.” Mencken was arrested selling the magazine to Chase on Boston Common in a stunt designed to provoke the free-speech trials that followed. In its restrained, but unrelenting attack on religious bigotry, irrationality, and hypocrisy, the book that was published soon thereafter retains its transgressive power today. Its taunting title, playing on Booker T. Washington’s early-century bestseller Up from Slavery, gives an idea of what Asbury thought he had escaped. In his mocking humor and plain-spun language, used to evoke a bygone South suffocating in its fear of pleasure and damnation, Asbury reveals his debt to another son of Missouri, Mark Twain.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Noted for Gangs of New York and other portraits of big city crime, the author turns his keen eye upon himself in this 1926 volume to tell of his religious upbringing in a small Missouri town. As the great-great-nephew of the first American bishop of the Methodist Church, he was spoon-fed religion from birth. Unfortunately, he gagged on the spoon. This book is an attack on religious bigotry and hypocrisy; a single chapter appearing in American Mercury magazine landed publisher H.L. Mencken in jail. If it was banned in Boston, it must be good. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560255703
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
12/10/2003
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.39(d)

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