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About the Author

H. L. Mencken 1880-1956 H. L. (Henry Louis) Mencken was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 12, 1880. He considered Maryland to be his home despite his many years in New York. As a child he attended Professor Friedrich Knapp's Institute, a private school for children of German descent. He näytä lisää completed his secondary education at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated at the age of 16. Mencken wanted to be a writer but was obligated to work in his father's cigar factory. When his father died suddenly in 1899, Mencken immediately sought a job at the Baltimore Herald. Through he began with no experience in journalism, he quickly learned every job at the newspaper and at age 25 became its editor. Mencken went on to build himself a reputation as one of America's most brilliant writers and literary critics. His basic approach was to question everything and to accept no limits on personal freedom. He attacked organized religion, American cultural and literary standards, and every aspect of American life that he found shallow, ignorant, or false - which was almost everything. From the 1920's until his death, Mencken's sharp wit and penetrating social commentary made him one of the most highly regarded - and fiercely hated - of American social critics. He was later memorialized in the dramatic portrait of the cynical journalist in the play and film Inherit the Wind. Shortly after World War I, Mencken began a project that was to fascinate him for the rest of his life: a study of American language and how it had evolved from British English. In 1919 he published The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. To this and his publisher's surprise, the book sold out quickly; its wit and nonscholarly approach attracted many readers who would not normally buy a book on such a subject. In 1936, a revised and enlarged edition was published, and in 1945 and 1948, supplements were added. The work shows not only how American English differs from British English but how the 300 year American experience shaped American dialect. Thus the book, still considered a classic in its field, is both a linguistic and social history of the United States. Mencken died in his sleep on January 29, 1956. He was interred in Baltimore's Loudon Park Cemetery. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän


Tekijän teokset

The Vintage Mencken (1955) — Tekijä — 658 kappaletta
In Defense of Women (1918) 385 kappaletta
Prejudices: A Selection (1958) 270 kappaletta
Treatise on the Gods (1930) 203 kappaletta
The Diary of H.L. Mencken (1989) 155 kappaletta
Notes on Democracy (2007) 142 kappaletta
My Life As Author And Editor (1993) 134 kappaletta
The Impossible H. L. Mencken (1991) — Tekijä — 125 kappaletta
The American Scene: A Reader (1965) 115 kappaletta
The Days Trilogy, Expanded Edition (2014) 105 kappaletta
A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (1995) 98 kappaletta
Minority Report (1955) 95 kappaletta
A Choice of Days (1980) 88 kappaletta
A Carnival of Buncombe (1956) 87 kappaletta
The Days of H.L. Mencken (1947) 79 kappaletta
Newspaper Days: 1899-1906 (1758) 76 kappaletta
H.L. Mencken on Religion (2002) 74 kappaletta
Happy Days: 1880-1892 (1940) 68 kappaletta
Heathen Days: 1890-1936 (1601) 58 kappaletta
Prejudices: first series (1923) 47 kappaletta
Damn! A Book of Calumny (1918) 44 kappaletta
A Book of Prefaces (1917) 41 kappaletta
A Book of Burlesques (1916) 33 kappaletta
Mencken's America (2004) 28 kappaletta
Letters of H.L. Mencken (1961) 27 kappaletta
Selected Prejudices (1926) 26 kappaletta
H.L. Mencken on Music (1961) 22 kappaletta
Livro Dos Insultos, O (2000) 22 kappaletta
Christmas Story (1946) 22 kappaletta
The New Mencken Letters (1977) 21 kappaletta
Prejudices: Third Series (1922) 17 kappaletta
Prejudices: Second Series (1924) 16 kappaletta
Friedrich Nietzsche (1993) 14 kappaletta
Europe After 8:15 (1914) — Co-author — 14 kappaletta
The Antichrist 12 kappaletta
Treatise on Right and Wrong (1934) 11 kappaletta
Prejudices: sixth series (1927) 11 kappaletta
Prejudices: Fourth Series (1925) 9 kappaletta
The Sunpapers of Baltimore (1937) 9 kappaletta
The Gist of Nietzche. (1910) 8 kappaletta
Americana (1925) 8 kappaletta
James Branch Cabell (2011) 6 kappaletta
Prejudices: Fifth Series (1926) 5 kappaletta
American Mercury: Facsimile Edition of Volume I (1984) — Toimittaja — 4 kappaletta
A Little Book in C Major (2006) 4 kappaletta
Notes on Democracy 4 kappaletta
Pistols for Two (2010) 3 kappaletta
Americana 1926 (1926) 3 kappaletta
Ship Ahoy — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
George Bernard Shaw: His Plays (1969) 3 kappaletta
Partis pris (2016) 3 kappaletta
Americana 1926 (1926) 2 kappaletta
Making a President (1932) 2 kappaletta
The rewards of virtue 2 kappaletta
Mencken's Americana (2002) 2 kappaletta
Gesammelte Vorurteile (2000) 2 kappaletta
O diário de H. L. Mencken (1995) 1 kappale
Book of Burlesques (1923) 1 kappale
Zur Verteidigung der Frau (2015) 1 kappale
Supplement 1 kappale
The American Mercury, 1927 [Volume XI; Nos. 41-44] (1927) — Toimittaja — 1 kappale
Collected Poems (2009) 1 kappale
Seven Books (2015) 1 kappale

Associated Works

Amerikkalaiset aaveet (1925) — Johdanto, eräät painokset3,924 kappaletta
The Art of the Personal Essay (1994) — Avustaja — 1,344 kappaletta
50 Great Short Stories (1952) — Avustaja — 1,217 kappaletta
The Best American Essays of the Century (2000) — Avustaja — 759 kappaletta
The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists (2000) — Avustaja, eräät painokset544 kappaletta
Drinking, Smoking and Screwing: Great Writers on Good Times (1994) — Avustaja — 332 kappaletta
Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (1993) — Avustaja — 202 kappaletta
Literary history of the United States (1946) — Avustaja — 189 kappaletta
World War I and America: Told by the Americans Who Lived It (1918) — Avustaja — 186 kappaletta
Atheism: A Reader (2000) — Avustaja — 181 kappaletta
This Is My Best (1942) — Avustaja — 181 kappaletta
The Norton Book of Personal Essays (1997) — Avustaja — 142 kappaletta
The Mark Twain Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Work (2010) — Avustaja — 138 kappaletta
The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Avustaja — 96 kappaletta
The Line of Love : Dizain des Mariages (1905) — Johdanto, eräät painokset83 kappaletta
Tales of Mean Streets (1894) — Esipuhe, eräät painokset67 kappaletta
Desert Island Decameron (1945) — Avustaja — 56 kappaletta
The Bedside Tales: A Gay Collection (1945) — Avustaja — 43 kappaletta
The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence (1922) — Johdanto, eräät painokset40 kappaletta
Great Tales of Terror (2002) — Avustaja — 39 kappaletta
A Quarto of Modern Literature (1935) — Avustaja — 38 kappaletta
The World of Law, Volume II : The Law as Literature (1960) — Avustaja — 21 kappaletta
A Round-Table in Poictesme: A Symposium (1924) — Avustaja — 21 kappaletta
William Jennings Bryan and the campaign of 1896 (1953) — Avustaja — 13 kappaletta
The Best in the World (1973) — Avustaja — 12 kappaletta
British and American Essays, 1905-1956 (1959) — Avustaja — 7 kappaletta
Time to Be Young: Great Stories of the Growing Years (1945) — Avustaja — 7 kappaletta
The bear went over the mountain (1964) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
The Fireside Treasury of Modern Humor (1963) — Avustaja — 5 kappaletta
The Bathroom Reader (1946) — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
Alfred A. Knopf - quarter century 1915-1940 (1940) — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
American Aphrodite (Volume Four, Number Sixteen) (1955) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Eyes of Boyhood (1953) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Wings, Vol. 6, No. 2, February 1932 — Avustaja — 1 kappale
The Avon Annual: 18 Great Story of Today (1944) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Essays by James Huneker — Toimittaja — 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla




I read the 1936 4th edition, last reprinted in 1974. I note that the price in pencil is marked down to $5.98 and my address is written in it from 1977, so I bought it used. The book has been on various shelves in four states since then. It took a Coronavirus pandemic to get me to look at it, and I ended up reading it through. If you’re interested in the difference between English in England vs the US, in the history of the development of American English, in the origin of American surnames, in American place names, in American slang, or in the historical development of any of these things, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t enjoy this detailed work.

If you are of a sensitive nature, you might be offended by Mencken’s well-known bigotry, but he does not display it openly here. It is just occasionally slightly exposed. You might not even notice it unless you are an American of non-English ancestry.

Of some interest were:
Mencken explains the difference between the meaning of the expression to jew someone in the US and England on p. 124 (Who knew?).

There is a list of Americanisms that derive from commercial products. Some are surprising and some that anyone would have known in 1936 have disappeared, e.g. uneeda.

There is a list of common short words that were selected and used by newspaper editors for their headlines that sometimes popularized the word, e.g.

Ace. In the sense of expert or champion it came in during the World War. It has since been extended to mean any person who shows any ponderable proficiency in whatever he undertakes to do…
Blast. It has quite displaced explosion in headlines…
Car. It is rapidly displacing all the older synonyms for automobile, including even auto….

He discusses the creation of American verbs in various ways, e.g. to phone … to tiptoe (for to walk tiptoe) … to reminisce … to orate … to author, and others using -ize and a proper name which are now almost lost to us, e.g. to hooverize (introduced in 1917 and included in Webster’s New International Dictionary in 1934) and to oslerize appearing after a famous oration by Dr. William Osler in 1905.

Along with other true or pseudo-abbreviations Mencken mentions the American expression O.K., which he comments was already used internationally in 1936, and he discusses its various false origin histories.

There is an extensive discussion of the differences between American and English school terminology that I found useful since I never understand what it means if a character in a novel is in their third standard, or what the differences are among an usher, a master, a pro-chancellor, or a high steward.

Various American vs English euphemisms are mentioned including nerts that I mostly see in old comic strips, but was apparently very widely used in 1936. He mentions some odd euphemisms that have been used in newspapers where gonorrhea, syphilis, venereal, and even virgin were prohibited. In 1933 the new treatment of giving a patient malaria to treat tertiary syphilis was invented (the fever is beneficial; the inventor won the Nobel prize in Medicine). The New York Times spoke of it only as a dread form of insanity caused by a blood disease. Mencken tells us that in Appalachia and the Ozarks certain common words were avoided in every-day speech regardless of context. Examples include bed, tail and leg!

There is an interesting discussion of various expletives and the history of their development, e.g. hell and, in England, bloody.

In a fantastic discovery (!), I learned that the word insignia is, in Latin, the plural of insigne, and that it was formerly considered inappropriate to use insignia as a singular noun, much as some decry data or criteria as a singular.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
markm2315 | 1 muu arvostelu | Jul 1, 2023 |
I have read this book off and on for a decade i suppose. A topical selection of his newspaper columns- arranged by Presidents, food, music, Scopes trial, Baltimore miscellany and so forth. Consistently great, if cranky reading. Has great charm in the 1st draft of history way - that is about Harding and Coolidge and Hoover and Roosevelt before they had established their reputation (none of that inevitability of history that retrospective history books necessarily use). Cranky, but light hearted - he often strikes me as a man who is paid for his opinion and even if he doesn't have a strong opinion will devolve on one - immediately - to serve his purpose (the writing of the article). Fair enough. Great writer- one wonders how he was so popular when he is insulting his readers almost constantly. I know we all see ourselves as part of the rarefied group - with Mencken, of course- who see through bunk and rise above the rabble he so disparages.… (lisätietoja)
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apende | Jul 12, 2022 |
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laplantelibrary | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 14, 2022 |



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