H. L. Mencken


H. L. Mencken
H. L. Mencken
Born Henry Louis Mencken
September 12, 1880(1880-09-12)
Baltimore, Maryland
Died January 29, 1956(1956-01-29) (aged 75)
Baltimore, Maryland
Occupation Journalist, satirist, critic
Family August Mencken, Sr.
Father
Spouse(s) Sara Haardt
Notable relatives August Mencken, Jr
Brother
Ethnicity German American
Religious belief(s) None ( Atheism )
Notable credit(s) The Baltimore Sun

Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English.[1] Mencken, known as the "Sage of Baltimore", is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. Many of his books are still in print.

Mencken is known for writing The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he named the "Monkey" trial. In addition to his literary accomplishments, Mencken was known for his controversial ideas. During the World Wars, he was sympathetic to the Germans, and was very distrustful of British "propaganda".[2]

A frank admirer of Nietzsche, he was not a proponent of representative democracy,[3] which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken wrote many articles about the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians, pseudo-experts, temperance and uplifters. He was particularly critical of anti-intellectualism, bigotry, populism, Christian fundamentalism, creationism, organized religion, the existence of God, and osteopathic/chiropractic medicine. He was a keen cheer-leader of scientific progress but very skeptical of economic theories.

Contents

Early life

Mencken was the son of August Mencken, Sr., a cigar factory owner of German extraction. When Henry was three, his family moved into a new home at 1524 Hollins Street,[4] in the Union Square neighborhood of Baltimore. Apart from five years of married life, Mencken was to live in that house for the rest of his days.

In his best-selling memoir Happy Days he described his childhood in Baltimore as "placid, secure, uneventful and happy".[5]

When he was nine years old, he read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, which he later described as "the most stupendous event in my life".[6] He determined to become a writer himself. He read prodigiously. In one winter while in high school he read Thackeray and "then proceeded backward to Addison, Steele, Pope, Swift, Johnson and the other magnificos of the eighteenth century". He read the entire canon of Shakespeare, and became an ardent fan of Kipling and Thomas Huxley.[7] But as a boy Mencken also had practical interests, photography and chemistry in particular, and eventually had a home chemistry laboratory which he used to perform experiments of his own devising, some of them inadvertently dangerous.[8]

After graduating (with honors) from high school at the age of 16, he worked for three years in his father's cigar factory. He disliked this work, especially the selling part, and resolved to leave, with or without his father's blessing. In early 1898 he took a class in writing at one of the country's first correspondence schools (the Cosmopolitan University).[9] This was to be all of Mencken's formal education in journalism, or indeed in any other subject. On his father's death a few days after Christmas in the same year, the business reverted to his uncle, and Mencken was free to pursue his career in journalism. He applied in February 1899 to the Baltimore Morning Herald newspaper, and was hired as a part-timer there, but still kept his position at the factory for a few months. In June he was hired on as a full-time reporter, and his new career was well underway.

Career

After six years at the Herald Mencken moved to The Baltimore Sun, where he worked for Charles H. Grasty. He continued to contribute to the Sun full time until 1948, when he ceased to write.

Mencken began writing the editorials and opinion pieces that made his name. On the side, he wrote short stories, a novel, and even poetry–which he later reviled. In 1908, he became a literary critic for the magazine The Smart Set, and in 1924, he and George Jean Nathan founded and edited The American Mercury, published by Alfred A. Knopf. It soon developed a national circulation and became highly influential on college campuses across America. In 1933, Mencken resigned as editor.

Personal life

In 1930, Mencken married Sara Haardt, a professor of English at Goucher College in Baltimore and an author who was 18 years his junior. Haardt had led efforts in Alabama to ratify the 19th Amendment.[10] The two had met in 1923 after Mencken delivered a lecture at Goucher; a seven-year courtship ensued. The marriage made national headlines, and many were surprised that Mencken, who once called marriage "the end of hope" and who was well known for mocking relations between the sexes, had gone to the altar. "The Holy Spirit informed and inspired me", Mencken said. "Like all other infidels, I am superstitious and always follow hunches: this one seemed to be a superb one."[11] Even more startling, he was marrying an Alabama native despite his having written scathing essays about the American South. Haardt was in poor health from tuberculosis[12] throughout their marriage and died in 1935 of meningitis, leaving Mencken grief-stricken. He had always supported her writing, and after her death had a collection of her short stories published under the title Southern Album.

Mencken photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1932

During the Great Depression, Mencken did not support the New Deal. This cost him popularity, as did his strong reservations regarding the United States' participation in World War II, and his overt contempt for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He ceased writing for the Baltimore Sun for several years, focusing on his memoirs and other projects as editor, while serving as an advisor for the paper that had been his home for nearly his entire career. In 1948, he briefly returned to the political scene, covering the presidential election in which President Harry S. Truman faced Republican Thomas Dewey and Henry A. Wallace of the Progressive Party. His later work consisted of humorous, anecdotal, and nostalgic essays, first published in The New Yorker, then collected in the books Happy Days, Newspaper Days, and Heathen Days.

On November 23, 1948, Mencken suffered a stroke that left him aware and fully conscious but nearly unable to read or write, and to speak only with some difficulty. After his stroke, Mencken enjoyed listening to European classical music and, after some recovery of his ability to speak, talking with friends, but he sometimes referred to himself in the past tense as if already dead. Preoccupied as he was with his legacy, he organized his papers, letters, newspaper clippings and columns, even grade school report cards. These materials were made available to scholars in stages, in 1971, 1981 and 1991, and include hundreds of thousands of letters sent and received–the only omissions were strictly personal letters received from women.

Mencken died in his sleep on January 29, 1956.[13] He was interred in Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery.[14] During his Smart Set days Mencken wrote a joking epitaph for himself:

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.[15]

Although this quote is not on his tombstone,[16] it is widely reported on the Internet as being inscribed on a plaque in the lobby of the Baltimore Sun.[17][18][19][20][21]

The man of ideas

In his capacity as editor and "man of ideas", Mencken became close friends with the leading literary figures of his time, including Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Hergesheimer, Anita Loos, Ben Hecht, Sinclair Lewis, James Branch Cabell and Alfred Knopf, as well as a mentor to several young reporters, including Alistair Cooke. He also championed artists whose works he considered worthy. For example, he asserted that books such as Caught Short! A Saga of Wailing Wall Street (1929), by Eddie Cantor (ghost-written by David Freedman) did more to pull America out of the Great Depression than all government measures combined. He also mentored John Fante.

Mencken also published many works under various pseudonyms, including Owen Hatteras , John H. Brownell, William Drayham, W. L. D. Bell, and Charles Angofff.[22] As a ghost-writer for the physician Leonard K. Hirshberg, he wrote a series of articles and (in 1910) most of the book about the care for babies.

Mencken frankly admired Friedrich Nietzsche—he was the first writer to provide a scholarly analysis in English of Nietzsche's writings and philosophy—and Joseph Conrad. His humor and satire owe much to Ambrose Bierce and Mark Twain. He did much to defend Theodore Dreiser, despite freely admitting his faults, including stating forthrightly that Dreiser often wrote badly and was a gullible man. Mencken also expressed his appreciation for William Graham Sumner in a 1941 collection of Sumner's essays, and regretted never having known Sumner personally.

Mencken recommended for publication the first novel by Ayn Rand, We the Living, calling it "a really excellent piece of work". Shortly after, Rand addressed him in correspondence as "the greatest representative of a philosophy" to which she wanted to dedicate her life, "individualism", and, later, listed him as her favorite columnist.[23]

Mencken is fictionalized in the play Inherit the Wind as the cynical sarcastic atheist E. K. Hornbeck (right), seen here as played by Gene Kelly in the Hollywood film version. On the left is Henry Drummond, based on Clarence Darrow and portrayed by Spencer Tracy.

For Mencken, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was the finest work of American literature. Much of that book relates how gullible and ignorant country "boobs" (as Mencken referred to them) are swindled by confidence men like the (deliberately) pathetic "Duke" and "Dauphin" roustabouts with whom Huck and Jim travel down the Mississippi River. These scam-artists swindle by posing as enlightened speakers on temperance (to obtain the funds to get roaring drunk), as pious "saved" men seeking funds for far off evangelistic missions (to pirates on the high seas, no less), and as learned doctors of phrenology (who can barely spell). Mencken read the novel as a story of America's hilarious dark side, a place where democracy, as defined by Mencken, is "...the worship of Jackals by Jackasses".

As a nationally syndicated columnist and book author, he famously spoke out against Christian Science, social stigma, fakery, Christian radicalism, religious belief (and as a fervent nonbeliever the very notion of a Deity), osteopathy, antievolutionism, chiropractic,[24][25][26] and the "Booboisie", his word for the ignorant middle classes. In 1926, he deliberately had himself arrested for selling an issue of The American Mercury that was banned in Boston under the Comstock laws.[27] Mencken heaped scorn not only on the public officials he disliked, but also on the contemporary state of American republicanism itself: in 1931, the Arkansas legislature passed a motion to pray for Mencken's soul after he had called the state the "apex of moronia".[28]

Musical interests

Mencken had a great interest in music. He joined a local Baltimore club known as the Saturday Night Club, a gathering of local men who got together once a week and played music and drank beer. Mencken played the piano and favored the works of Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Bach, but not much else.

Positions

The striking thing about Mencken’s mind is its ruthlessness and rigidity…Though one of the fairest of critics, he is the least pliant. … [I]n spite of his skepticism, and his frequent exhortations to hold his opinion lightly, he himself has been conspicuous for seizing upon simple dogmas and sticking to them with fierce tenacity…true skeptics…see both truth and weakness in every case…
 
— Literary critic Edmund Wilson (1921)[29]

Elitism

Mencken believed that every community produced a few people of clear superiority. He considered groupings on a par with hierarchies, which led to a kind of natural elitism and natural aristocracy. "Superior" individuals, in Mencken's view, were those wrongly oppressed and disdained by their own communities, but nevertheless distinguished by their will and personal achievement— not by race or birth. Based on his achievement and work ethic, Mencken himself may have fit these criteria.[dubious ]

In 1989, per his instructions, Alfred A. Knopf published Mencken's "secret diary" as The Diary of H. L. Mencken. According to an item in the South Bay (California) Daily Breeze[30] on December 5, 1989, titled "Mencken's Secret Diary Shows Racist Leanings", Mencken's views shocked even the "sympathetic scholar who edited it", Charles A. Fecher of Baltimore. There was a club in Baltimore called the Maryland Club which had one Jewish member, and that member died. Mencken said, "There is no other Jew in Baltimore who seems suitable", according to the article. And the diary quoted him as saying of blacks, in 1943, "...it is impossible to talk anything resembling discretion or judgment to a colored woman..." However, violence against blacks outraged Mencken. For example, he had this to say about a Maryland lynching:

Not a single bigwig came forward in the emergency, though the whole town knew what was afoot. Any one of a score of such bigwigs might have halted the crime, if only by threatening to denounce its perpetrators, but none spoke. So Williams was duly hanged, burned and mutilated.

Democracy

Rather than dismissing democratic governance as a popular fallacy or treating it with open contempt, Mencken's response to it was a publicized sense of amusement. His feelings on this subject (like his casual feelings on many other such subjects) are sprinkled throughout his writings over the years, very occasionally taking center-stage with the full force of Mencken's prose:

[D]emocracy gives [the beatification of mediocrity] a certain appearance of objective and demonstrable truth. The mob man, functioning as citizen, gets a feeling that he is really important to the world—that he is genuinely running things. Out of his maudlin herding after rogues and mountebanks there comes to him a sense of vast and mysterious power—which is what makes archbishops, police sergeants, the grand goblins of the Ku Klux and other such magnificoes happy. And out of it there comes, too, a conviction that he is somehow wise, that his views are taken seriously by his betters—which is what makes United States Senators, fortune tellers and Young Intellectuals happy. Finally, there comes out of it a glowing consciousness of a high duty triumphantly done which is what makes hangmen and husbands happy.

This sentiment[31] is fairly consistent with Mencken's distaste for common notions and the philosophical outlook he unabashedly set down throughout his life as a writer (drawing on Friedrich Nietzsche and Herbert Spencer, among others).

Mencken wrote as follows about the difficulties of good men reaching national office when such campaigns must necessarily be conducted remotely:

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.[32]

Jews

Mencken seemed to hold ambivalent opinions on Semitic people. Mencken idealized German culture and therefore may have adopted racial and anti-Semitic attitudes common in late 19th-century Germany. In the 1930 edition of Treatise on the Gods (and removed at his direction from all subsequent editions[33]) Mencken wrote:

The Jews could be put down very plausibly as the most unpleasant race ever heard of. As commonly encountered, they lack many of the qualities that mark the civilized man: courage, dignity, incorruptibility, ease, confidence. They have vanity without pride, voluptuousness without taste, and learning without wisdom. Their fortitude, such as it is, is wasted upon puerile objects, and their charity is mainly a form of display.

On the other hand he came to view Adolf Hitler as a buffoon, and once compared him to a common Ku Klux Klan member.[34]

The progressive writer Gore Vidal defended Mencken:

Far from being an anti-Semite, Mencken was one of the first journalists to denounce the persecution of the Jews in Germany at a time when the New York Times, say, was notoriously reticent. On November 27, 1938, Mencken writes (Baltimore Sun), "It is to be hoped that the poor Jews now being robbed and mauled in Germany will not take too seriously the plans of various politicians to rescue them." He then reviews the various schemes to "rescue" the Jews from the Nazis, who had not yet announced their own final solution.[35]

As Hitler gradually conquered Europe, Mencken attacked President Franklin D. Roosevelt for refusing to admit Jewish refugees into the United States:

There is only one way to help the fugitives, and that is to find places for them in a country in which they can really live. Why shouldn't the United States take in a couple hundred thousand of them, or even all of them?[36]

Anglo-Saxons

Mencken countered the arguments for Anglo-Saxon superiority prevalent in his time in a 1923 essay entitled "The Anglo-Saxon" which argued that if there was such a thing as a pure "Anglo-Saxon" race, it was defined by its inferiority and cowardice. "The normal American of the 'pure-blooded' majority goes to rest every night with an uneasy feeling that there is a burglar under the bed and he gets up every morning with a sickening fear that his underwear has been stolen."[37]

Memorials

House

Mencken's home at 1524 Hollins Street, where he lived for 67 years before his death in 1956, in Baltimore's Union Square neighborhood was bequeathed to the University of Maryland, Baltimore on the death of Mencken's younger brother August in 1967. The City of Baltimore acquired the property in 1983 and the "H. L. Mencken House" became part of the City Life Museums. The house has been closed to general admission since 1997, but is opened for special events and group visits by arrangement.

Library

Shortly after World War II, Mencken expressed his intention of bequeathing his books and papers to Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library. At the time of his death in 1956, the Library was in possession of most of the present large collection. As a result, Mencken's papers as well as much of his library, which includes many books inscribed by major authors, are held in the Central branch of the Pratt Library on Cathedral Street in Baltimore. The original H. L. Mencken Room and Collection, on the third floor, housing this collection, was dedicated on April 17, 1956. The new Mencken Room, on the first floor of the Library's Annex, was opened in November 2003.

The collection contains Mencken's typescripts, his newspaper and magazine contributions, his published books, family documents and memorabilia, clipping books, a large collection of presentation volumes, a file of correspondence with prominent Marylanders, and the extensive material he collected while preparing The American Language.

Other collections of Menckenia are at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Yale University. The Sara Haardt Mencken collection is at Goucher College. Some of Mencken's vast literary correspondence is held at the New York Public Library.

Works

Books

  • George Bernard Shaw: His Plays (1905)
  • The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1907)
  • The Gist of Nietzsche (1910)
  • Men versus the Man: a Correspondence between Robert Rives La Monte, Socialist and H. L. Mencken, Individualist (1910)
  • A Book of Burlesques (1916)
  • A Little Book in C Major (1916)
  • A Book of Prefaces (1917)
  • In Defense of Women (1918)
  • Damn! A Book of Calumny (1918)
  • The American Language (1919)
  • Prejudices (1919–27)
    • First Series (1919)
    • Second Series (1920)
    • Third Series (1922)
    • Fourth Series (1924)
    • Fifth Series (1926)
    • Sixth Series (1927)
    • Selected Prejudices (1927)
  • Notes on Democracy (1926)
  • Menckeneana: A Schimpflexikon (1928) - Editor
  • Treatise on the Gods (1930)
  • Making a President (1932)
  • Treatise on Right and Wrong (1934)
  • Happy Days, 1880–1892 (1940)
  • Newspaper Days, 1899–1906 (1941)
  • Heathen Days, 1890–1936 (1943)
  • Christmas Story (1944)
  • A Mencken Chrestomathy (1948)

Posthumous collections

  • Minority Report (1956)
  • On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (1956)
  • The American Scene (1965) (Huntington Cairns, ed).
  • The Bathtub Hoax and Blasts & Bravos from the Chicago Tribune (1958)
  • The Impossible H. L. Mencken: A Selection Of His Best Newspaper Stories (1991) (Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, ed).
  • My Life As Author and Editor (1992) (Jonathan Yardley, ed).
  • A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (1994)
  • A Religious Orgy in Tennessee A Reporter's Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial (2006) (Melville House Publishing).

Chapbooks, pamphlets, and notable essays

  • Ventures into Verse (1903)
  • The Artist: A Drama Without Words (1912)
  • The Creed of a Novelist (1916)
  • Pistols for Two (1917)
  • The Sahara of the Bozart (1920)
  • Gamalielese (1921)
  • "The Hills of Zion" (1925)
  • Libido for the Ugly (1927)

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Obituary Variety, February 1, 1956.
  2. ^ Hobson (1994) p 435
  3. ^ Mencken, Henry (1926). Notes on Democracy. New York: Alfred Knopf 
  4. ^ Detailed description of Mencken's home in Baltimore
  5. ^ Happy Days p vii
  6. ^ St. Petersburg Times – Sep 23, 1987
  7. ^ Goldberg (1925) p 90-93
  8. ^ Newspaper Days, 1899–1906, p.58
  9. ^ Goldberg (1925) p 93
  10. ^ Short biographical sketch of Sara Haardt
  11. ^ Mencken bio at menckenhouse.org
  12. ^ al.com, the Real South: Famous People – Literary Figures: Sally Haardt
  13. ^ "H. L. Mencken, 75, Dies in Baltimore". New York Times. January 30, 1956. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40F14FF3C58157B93C2AA178AD85F428585F9. Retrieved 2008-06-15. "H.L. Mencken was found dead in bed early today. The 75-year-old author, editor, critic and newspaper man had lived in retirement since suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in 1948." 
  14. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=706
  15. ^ Epitaph, Smart Set, 1921-12-03, p. 33"
  16. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=706&PIpi=76414
  17. ^ http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/h/h_/h__l__mencken.html
  18. ^ http://www.tititudorancea.com/z/h_l_mencken.htm
  19. ^ http://www.theinfidels.org/zunb-hlmencken.htm
  20. ^ http://www.genordell.com/stores/spirit/HLMencken.htm
  21. ^ http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/H._L._Mencken
  22. ^ S. L. Harrison aka H. L. Mencken: Selected Pseudonymous Writings Wolf Den Books (2005) ISBN 0-9708035-4-0.
  23. ^ Berliner, Michael, editor, Letters of Ayn Rand, 1995, Dutton, p. 10 (Mencken's opinion of the novel), and pp. 13-14 (Rand's praise of Mencken).
  24. ^ Joseph Keating Jr., PhD. Because We Know Chiropractic Works ... (sarcastic article). Dynamic Chiropractic, July 16, 1993, Vol. 11, Issue 15
  25. ^ H. L. Mencken. Prejudices: A Selection. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006 ISBN 0-8018-8535-3, 9780801885358, 288 pages.
  26. ^ James C. Whorton. Nature Cures: The History of Alternative Medicine in America. Oxford University Press US, 2004, ISBN 0-19-517162-4, 9780195171624, 384 pages
  27. ^ http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=104
  28. ^ Manchester, William Disturber of the Peace (1951) Harper p. 252
  29. ^ Wilson, Edmund. 1921. H.L. Mencken in Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s: The Shores of Light / Axel's Castle / Uncollected Reviews Lewis M. Dabney, ed. (New York: Library of America, 2007) ISBN 978-1-59853-013-1
  30. ^ http://www.dailybreeze.com
  31. ^ Mencken's essay "Last Words" on the illusory merits of democracy.
  32. ^ Mencken, Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920
  33. ^ Mencken: A Life, Fred C. Hobson, 1995, p.477
  34. ^ In an open letter to Upton Sinclair published in The American Mercury in June 1936: "You protest, and with justice, each time Hitler jails an opponent; but you forget that Stalin and company have jailed and murdered a thousand times as many. It seems to me, and indeed the evidence is plain, that compared to the Moscow brigands and assassins, Hitler is hardly more than a common Ku Kluxer and Mussolini almost a philanthropist."
  35. ^ Gore Vidal, foreword to Mary Elizabeth Rodgers The Impossible H.L. Mencken
  36. ^ Help for the Jews, 1938, in The Impossible H.L. Mencken, Anchor Books, 1991
  37. ^ H. L. Mencken, "The Anglo-Saxon", Baltimore Evening Sun, July 1923

Biographies

  • Goldberg, Isaac (1925) The Man Mencken: A Biographical and Critical Survey Simon and Shuster.
  • Manchester, William (1951) Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H.L. Mencken Harper.
  • Bode, Carl (1969) Mencken Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 8093-0376-0
  • Hobson, Fred (1974) Serpent in Eden Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-8071-0292-X
  • Stenerson, Douglas C. (1974) H. L. Mencken: Iconoclast from Baltimore University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-77249-7
  • Scruggs, Charles (1984) The Sage in Harlem.
  • Hobson, Fred (1994) Mencken: A Life. Random House. ISBN 0-8018-5238-2. Also published in paper back by The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Teachout, Terry. (2002) The Skeptic : A Life of H. L. Mencken. Harper Collins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-050528-1
  • Rodgers, Marion Elizabeth (2005) Mencken: The American Iconoclast. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507238-3

External links


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  • Mencken — ist der Name folgender Personen: Anastasius Ludwig Mencken (1752–1801), preußischer Verwaltungsreformer H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), US amerikanischer Publizist und Schriftsteller Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unters …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mencken —   [ meȖkɪn], H. L. (Henry Louis), amerikanischer Journalist und Schriftsteller, * Baltimore (Maryland) 12. 9. 1880, ✝ ebenda 29. 1. 1956; ab 1908 Literaturkritiker und 1914 23 Mitherausgeber des Kulturmagazins »The smart set«; 1924 Mitbegründer… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Mencken — [meŋ′kən] H(enry) L(ouis) 1880 1956; U.S. writer, editor, & critic …   English World dictionary

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  • Mencken, H.L. — ▪ American writer in full  Henry Louis Mencken   born Sept. 12, 1880, Baltimore, Md., U.S. died Jan. 29, 1956, Baltimore  controversialist, humorous journalist, and pungent critic of American life who powerfully influenced U.S. fiction through… …   Universalium

  • Mencken, H. L. — (1880 1956)    Henry Louis Mencken was born in Baltimore, son of a cigar manufacturer. Remembered as a journalist whose cynical style epitomized intellectual attitudes of the first quarter of the 20th century, Mencken and his friend, dramatic… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

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  • Mencken — noun United States journalist and literary critic (1880 1956) • Syn: ↑H. L. Mencken, ↑Henry Louis Mencken • Instance Hypernyms: ↑journalist, ↑literary critic …   Useful english dictionary


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