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A Historical Treasure: the never-before, published diary of the most outspoken, iconoclastic, ferociously articulate of American social critics -- the sui generis newspaperman, columnist for the Baltimore Sun, editor of The American Mercury, and author of The American Language, who was admired, feared, and famous for his merciless puncturing of smugness, his genius for deflating pomposity and pretense, his polemical brilliance. Walter Lippmann called him, in 1926, "the most powerful personal influence on this whole generation of educated Americans."
H. L. Mencken's diary was, at his own request, kept sealed in the vaults of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Library for a quarter of a century after his death. The diary covers the years 1930 -- 1948, and provides a vivid, unvarnished, sometimes shocking picture of Mencken himself, his world, and his friends and antagonists, from Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and William Faulkner to Franklin D. Roosevelt, for whom Mencken nourished a hatred that resulted in spectacular and celebrated feats of invective.
From the more than 2,000 pages of typescript that have now come to light, the Mencken scholar Charles A. Fecher has made a generous selection of entries carefully chosen to preserve the whole range, color, and impact of the diary. Here, full scale, is Mencken the unique observer and disturber of American society. And here too is Mencken the human being of wildly contradictory impulses: the skeptic who was prey to small superstitions, the dare-all warrior who was a hopeless hypochondriac, the loving husband and generous friend who was, alas, a bigot.
Mencken emerges from these pages unretouched -- in all the often outrageous gadfly vitality that made him, at his brilliant best, so important to the intellectual fabric of American life.
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About H. L. Mencken
"If Mencken had never lived, it would have taken a whole army of assorted philosophers, monologists, editors and patrons of the new writing to make up for him. As it was, he not only rallied all the young writers together and imposed his skepticism upon the new generation, but also brought a new and uproarious gift for high comedy into a literature that had never been too quick to laugh."
"Mencken came in like a lion. Like a revolutionary, overthrowing half the props that supported America's conception of itself -- and not merely its beliefs and moralities, but its peace of mind."
"He was vastly underrated as a humorist with one deadly sensible eye on the behavior of the human animal. He was, in fact, a humorist by instinct and a superb craftsman by temperament."
Alistair CookeAbout the Author:
Henry L. Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880 and died there in 1956. He began his long career as a journalist, critic, and philologist on the Baltimore Morning Herald in 1899. In 1906 he joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun, thus beginning an association which lasted until a few years before his death. He was co-editor of the Smart Set with George Jean Nathan from 1908 to 1923, and with Nathan he founded The American Mercury, of which he was sole editor from 1925 to 1933. He was the author of many books, most notably The American Language, Prejudices, Happy Days, Newspaper Days, Heathen Days, and Minority Report.
Charles A. Fecher was born in Baltimore in 1917 and lives there still. He is the author of The Philosophy of Jacques Maritain and Mencken: A Study of His Thought. He has written articles and reviews for a large number of publications, including The Critic, The Catholic World, The Sign, and the Baltimore Sun.
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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX039456877X
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11039456877X
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M039456877X
Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: New. 039456877X New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.0869825