H. L. Mencken

H. L. Mencken

H. L. Mencken

H. L. Mencken

Excerpt

One of the most extraordinary legends in American literature is the legend that there is a legendary H. L. Mencken. When an author creates for himself a fictitious literary personality, as Bernard Shaw has done, it is usually in order to conceal the discrepancy between his real self and the image which his writings have formed in the mind of the public. Mr. Shaw is not a picturesque rebel, meditating the destruction of capitalistic society; an iconoclast absorbed in the struggle for democracy and freedom. He is a hard-headed business man, who has become a highly paid purveyor of popular amusement; an unattached Irishman in London making a career out of attacking English conventions which were never his own. His Socialism at an early stage resolved itself into the statistics of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb and the Fabians, and his predilection for orthodox society has kept him immune from the heretical ideas and personalities that have effected such changes as he professes theoretically to be interested in, whether it be the achievement of self-government in Ireland, or the overthrow of . . .

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