Henry Lewis Mencken

(1880-1956 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Henry Lewis Mencken Quotes

  • ''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).
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  • ''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).
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  • ''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, ed. Alistair Cooke, Vintage (1956). In an essay on Theodore Dreiser.
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  • ''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).
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  • ''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 Hollywood. Quoted in James R. Mellon, Invented Lives (1984).
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  • ''Bachelors have consciences. Married men have wives.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (18801956), U.S. journalist, critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 621, Knopf (1949).
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  • ''One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist. "Scientific Examination of a Popular Virtue," Prejudices, Second Series (1920).
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  • ''There are no institutions in America: there are only fashions.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (18801956), U.S. journalist, critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 621, Knopf (1949).
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  • ''Adultery is the application of democracy to love.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist, critic. The Vintage Mencken, ch. 47, p. 232, ed. Alistair Cooke, Vintage (1956).
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  • ''Nevertheless, it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.''
    H.L. (Henry Lewis) Mencken (18801956), U.S. journalist, critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 30, p. 618, Knopf (1949).
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