trusted as a purveyor of ideas. Mencken as humorist is another thing. Others may imitate, but none can approach the vivacity and brilliance of his style: the sentences that crack like a whip, the phrases that fall and rebound like Thor's hammer, the surly laughter that revels in well-seasoned colloquialisms, ridiculous incongruities, sudden and vulgar paradoxes. Read Mr. Mencken for his ideas, and you will only hug the viper of melancholy to your bosom. Read him as you would read Mark Twain, you will not only escape the virus, but you wilt have a rare, indeed a unique, entertainment. You will have also the democratic (according to Mencken) pleasure of seeing the mighty ones biffed soundly; and you will only spoil the joke if you get angry because you are biffed yourself.
Two college professors, one from the East, the other from the West, have labored and brought forth capacious volumes, the produce of years of research. Vernon Lewis Parrington, professor of English in the University of Washington (in the state of that name), gives us Main Currents in American Thought. John Livingston Lowes of Harvard, also a professor of English, after eight years of super- detective work, publishes The Road to Xanadu. The contrast between these two books, if not between these two men, is precisely the contrast between the living and the
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Publication information: Book title: The Spyglass, Views and Reviews, 1924-1930:Selected and Edited by John Tyree Fain. Contributors: Donald Davidson - Author. Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press. Place of publication: Nashville, TN. Publication year: 1963. Page number: 131.