H. L. Mencken, Critic of American Life

H. L. Mencken, Critic of American Life

H. L. Mencken, Critic of American Life

H. L. Mencken, Critic of American Life

Excerpt

In spite of the ups and downs of his literary reputation, there is still a good deal of interest in the life and writings of Henry L. Mencken.Critics first pronounced Mencken dead in the 1930s, but he seems to have a way of coming back from his assigned places of rest.Indeed the number of articles and books written about him in the fifties and sixties exceed both in quality and quantity those written when he was at the height of his popularity. There is something solid and enduring about Mencken, a liveliness and force that are lacking in many of the popular writers of the twenties—Sinclair Lewis, for example.

Even the academic world, which once spurned Mencken for the shallowness of his thinking, has contributed to a kind of Mencken revival.The past decade has seen the appearance of Carl Bode's readable and well-researched biography (Mencken) in 1969, a massive scholarly study in French by G. J. Forgue (H. L. Mencken, L'Homme, L' Oeuvre, L'Influence) in 1967, and a solid biographical/critical study by Douglas C. Stenerson (H. L. Mencken: Iconoclast From Baltimore) in 1971, which makes a systematic attempt to trace the origins and morphology of Mencken's thought and intellectual style.Of course the old academic stereotypes are there for those who want them, but the renewed interest in the scholarly study of . . .

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