Henry Lewis Mencken

(1880-1956 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Henry Lewis Mencken
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Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was a German-American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century. As a scholar Mencken is known for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States. His satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial", also gained him attention. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary ... more »

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  • ''Platitude—An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (18801956), U.S. journalist, critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 617, Knopf (1949).
  • ''Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist, essayist. Prejudices, Third Series, Knopf (1922).
  • ''Nietzsche, to the end of his days, remained a Russian pastor's son, and hence two-thirds of a Puritan; he erected his war upon holiness, toward the end, into a sort of holy war.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist, critic. Originally published in A Book of Prefaces (1916). The Vintage Mencken, ch. 7, p. 51,...
  • ''Remorse—Regret that one waited so long to do it.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (18801956), U.S. journalist, critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 618, Knopf (1949).
  • ''If Los Angeles is not the one authentic rectum of civilization, then I am no anatomist. Any time you want to go out again and burn it down, count me in.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist. Letter, March 15, 1927, to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, on their return from working in Hol...
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