My Life As Author And Editor

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9780679413158: My Life As Author And Editor

After thirty-five years in a sealed vault, the autobiography of one of America's greatest social and literary critics chronicles Mencken's remarkable life, discussing his rivalries, feuds, and friendships; his views on the world; and much more. 12,500 first printing.

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Review:

Any best-of list dealing with American political satire has to include H.L. Mencken, who was the country's leading social critic between the world wars. This volume of new material was written at the end of his life, well after his epochal days at the Smart Set and the American Mercury were over and his pro-German sentiments had driven him from the national stage. My Life as Author and Editor is taken from the immense unfinished manuscript that was deposited in the Enoch Pratt Free Library upon Mencken's death; in accordance with his wishes, the packet was not read for 35 years. To modern readers, it is not scandalous as much as fiercely opinionated; Mencken pulls no punches regarding the people he met and the life he led from 1896 to 1923. Fitzgerald, Dreiser, Pound, Joyce, and many others all pass under Mencken's gimlet eye. Along the way, plenty of the author's criticism is heaped on "Life in These United States," the stupidity and lack of sophistication that Mencken raged against his entire career. Better examples of Mencken's satire can be found, but as an introduction to the author's gruff charm and bombast, My Life as Author and Editor is well-suited. And, of course, it is a necessity for the devoted Mencken fan. --Michael Gerber

About the Author:

H. 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 that lasted until a few years before his death. He was coeditor of the Smart Set with George Jean Nathan from 1908 to 1923, and with Nathan he founded The American Mercury, a magazine 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.

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