Mencken: The American Iconoclast

By Marion Elizabeth Rodgers

A towering determine at the American cultural panorama, H.L. Mencken sticks out as one among our so much influential stylists and fearless iconoclasts--the 20th century's maximum newspaper journalist, a well-known wit, and a relentless determine of controversy.
Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has written the definitive biography of Mencken, the main illuminating ebook ever released approximately this immense of yankee letters. Rodgers captures either the general public and the non-public guy, protecting the various amorous affairs that made him referred to as "The German Valentino" and his satisfied marriage on the age of fifty to Sara Haardt, who, regardless of a deadly ailment, refused to develop into a sufferer and earned his private love. The e-book discusses his friendships, in particular his complex yet stimulating partnership with the famed theater critic George Jean Nathan. Rodgers vividly recreates Mencken's period: the glittering tapestry of turn-of-the-century the US, the roaring twenties, depressed thirties, and the house entrance in the course of international warfare II. however the center of the e-book is Mencken. while few dared to shatter complacencies, Mencken fought for civil liberties and unfastened speech. We see the renowned position he performed within the Scopes Monkey Trial, his lengthy campaign opposed to Prohibition, his fierce battles opposed to press censorship, and his consistent publicity of pious frauds and empty uplift. The champion of our tongue in The American Language, Mencken additionally performed a pivotal position in defining the form of yankee letters via The shrewdpermanent Set and The American Mercury, magazines that brought such writers as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Langston Hughes. The paradoxes of Mencken's existence are explored, as new gaps are crammed concerning his infamous perspectives of minorities and his clash, as a German American, in the course of global wars. And all through, Rodgers captures the irrepressible spirit and irreverent wit for which Mencken used to be famed.
Drawing on learn in additional than sixty data together with deepest collections within the usa and in Germany, formerly unseen, on specific interviews with Mencken's acquaintances, and on his love letters and FBI records, here's the entire portrait of 1 of America's such a lot colourful and influential males.

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Three, 1961, PRIN/md; AAK to Huntington Cairns, April 22, 1961, LC; HLM, “Advice to younger Men,” could 17, 1939, YALE; Lawrence Spivak, “The American Mercury writer Cards,” LC; O. H. Epperson to Charles Angoff, Aug. 31, 1963, BU; Carl Bode interview with John Owens, Sept. 23, 1964, selection of Harold A. Williams; HLM to Charles Angoff, March 23, 1926, and undated, ca. Nineteen Thirties, BU; HLM to Charles Angoff, March 28, 1933, HRHRC; HLM to AAK, Feb. four, 1942, EPFL; Carl Bode interview with Edith Lustgarten, Oct. 1, 1963, EPFL.

Each month he perused not less than 40 magazines, between them the perfect courtroom Reporter and the Congressional checklist; for enjoyable he used to be examining The Letters and personal Papers of William Makepeace Thackeray; Postscript to the day prior to this: the US, The final Fifty Years; A Hog on Ice and different Curious Expressions; The Dictionary of Clichés, and An advent to Linguistic technological know-how. Notes have been nonetheless piling up at the American language, which he labored into articles for American Speech and the hot Yorker. in the meantime, he used to be additionally supporting the Knopf publishing condo with its exposure for A Mencken Chrestomathy for liberate in 1949.

July 10, 1922; “The Invisible Empire,” Dec. four, 1922. 7. be aware from James Cain to Carl Bode, undated, selection of Roy Hoopes; HLM, “The Armenian Buncombe,” BES, could 28, 1920; Arthur O. Lovejoy, “Mr. Mencken and the Armenian Massacres,” BES, may perhaps 31, 1920; “Letters: the author Who Asks approximately Mencken,” BES, June 7, 1920; “Letters: stunning to the chums of America,” BES, may well 31, 1920; “Letters: The sunlight might remorse greatly to Lose a Subscriber of 50 Years Standing,” BS, June 19, 1920; Williams, The Baltimore solar 1837–1987, p.

He descended to a filthy cellar for a meager and disgusting meal, staring at later that “The dirtiest guy that i've got ever obvious in my existence used to be in control of the sandwich counter at Chicago. ” The Republicans believed they can win the election and finish the Wilson period. one of the applicants used to be common Leonard wooden, a confidant of Theodore Roosevelt. Others incorporated Herbert Hoover, the profitable Wartime nutrients Administrator, Calvin Coolidge, the governor of Massachusetts, and Warren G. Harding, the senator from Ohio who was once a well-liked self-made businessman from a pivotal kingdom.

You stated it casually, yet on your center, you felt that it was once like being knighted by means of a king. ” different authors echoed the response of Ben Hecht, who used to save lots of his letters and “show them round as though they have been citations. ” Mencken composed at the least 100,000 letters in the course of his lifetime, an ordinary of 1,500 or extra a 12 months, on simple half-sheets of white paper, single-spaced, with well worded letterhead. Their recipients ranged from newshounds and authors to a wealthy collection of alternative celebrities, from Groucho Marx to J.

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