Second Mencken Chrestomathy

Author: H.L. Mencken

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307831116

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 656

View: 9003

Before there was any such thing as political correctness, H. L. Mencken was flouting it. He was also cheerfully deriding the precursors of family values and lambasting the guardians of public virtue. This historic new collection is further evidence that Mencken was our most astute, stylish, and biliously funny commentator on the eternal American quackeries. A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (a word meaning “a collection of choice passages from an author or authors”) was compiled by the sage of Baltimore before he suffered the stroke that ended his career and has only now been retrieved from his private papers by the columnist and Mencken biographer Terry Teachout. Its 238 selections—many of which have never before been published in book form—encompass subjects from Americana (“The Commonwealth of Morons”) to men and women (“Sex on the Stage”) and from criminology (“More and Better Psychopaths”) to the pursuit of happiness (“Alcohol”). The result is Mencken at his most engaging, maddening, heretical, and hilarious.

H.L. Mencken

Author: Vincent Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Mercer University Press

ISBN: 9780865549210

Category: American literature

Page: 228

View: 9031

Over a career that spanned half of a century, Henry Louis Mencken published more than 10 million words. More than a million were written about him, many of which, Mencken liked to remark, were highly condemnatory. He was called, with good reason, the most powerful private citizen in America during the 1920s.This lively introduction to Mencken's life and work begins with a concise biographical portrait before proceeding to a consideration of the five major periods of the renowned Baltimorean's career: his literary apprenticeship; the growth of his national reputation; his fame and unprecedented popularity during the 1920s (when college students would flash the Paris-green cover of the American Mercury as a badge of sophistication); the decline of his reputation during the Depression; and his renewed popularity during the 1940s, with the publication of his autobiographical trilogy, the Days books. In discussing this varied career, Vincent Fitzpatrick touches upon all the roles that Mencken played: journalist; editor; redoubtable critic of literature, culture, and politics; philologist; and autobiographer. Drawing upon Mencken's extensive correspondence of more than 100,000 letters, the book stresses his unflagging belief in the need for free speech (up to the limits of common decency). Indeed, in the end Mencken proved a significant American civil libertarian.Iconoclast, critic, satirist, "individualist," H. L. Mencken offered unique insights into American life. His lifelong celebration of the freedom to dissent marks his most enduring contribution to a nation that gave him such a wealth of material and so much delight.

American Humor

Author: Arthur Power Dudden

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0195050541

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 180

View: 9574

Although American humour has asserted itself from the first century of the nation's independence, often finding new forms through the genius of many of the practitioners, it has received little serious attention from critics or historians. Here, nine eminent essayists examine American humour from revolutionary times to the present day, focusing in particular on the neglected trends of the past fifty years.

W.C. Fields from the Ziegfeld Follies and Broadway Stage to the Screen

Author: Arthur Frank Wertheim

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1349949868

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 270

View: 9389

This book reveals how Fields became a character comedian while performing in Broadway’s most illustrious revue, the Ziegfeld Follies. As the first biography to use the recently opened Fields Papers at the Motion Picture Academy, the book explores how Fields years as a Follies entertainer portraying a beleaguered husband and a captivating conman became a landmark turning point in his career, leading to his fame as a masterful film comedian. The book also untangles a web of mysteries about Fields’s turbulent private life, from the heartrending stories about the tragic relationship with his calculating wife who refused to divorce him, to his estranged son controlled by his mother, to the seven-year extra-marital affair with a chorus girl that led to the birth of an unwanted child. This electrifying saga illuminates a complex dual personality, whirling from tenderness to brusqueness, who endured so much anguish in order to bring the gift of laughter to millions. Although vilified by Ziegfeld and assailed by demons, Fields survived the cutthroat rigors of Broadway show biz to become a legendary American iconoclast and cultural icon.

American Literature in Context

Author: Ann Massa

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1315535513

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 217

View: 4245

First published between 1982 and 1983, this series examines the peculiarly American cultural context out of which the nation’s literature has developed. Covering the years from 1900 to 1930, this fourth volume of American Literature in Context focuses on how American literature dealt with the challenges of the period including the First World War and the stock market crash. It examines key writers of the time such as Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F Scott Fitzgerald and Eugene O’Neill who, unlike many Americans who sought escape, confronted reality, providing a rich and varied literature that reflects these turbulent years. This book will be of interest to those studying American literature and American studies.

The Conservative Century

Author: Gregory L. Schneider

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780742542853

Category: Conservatism

Page: 280

View: 2671

This concise history focuses on the development of American conservatism in the twentieth century up to the present. Gregory L. Schneider traces the course of a once-reactionary movement opposed to progressive reform and the New Deal and describes how it came to advance alternative policies and programs that revolutionized the shaping of domestic politics, foreign policy, and economic policy. Along the way he profiles such influential thinkers as William F. Buckley, Frank Meyer, Henry Regnery, and Barry Goldwater. He also details how the decline of liberalism after the 1960s helped conservatives gain political power, and how their energized activism and organization culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Schneider also describes how the years since the Reagan Revolution have been decidedly mixed for American conservatives.

The Freedom of Peaceful Action

Author: Stuart K. Hayashi

Publisher: Lexington Books

ISBN: 0739186671

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 696

View: 1682

The Nature of Liberty trilogy presents an ethical case for individual liberty, arguing from the philosophy of Ayn Rand and citing the findings of evolutionary psychology to demonstrate the compatibility between human nature and laissez-faire liberty. The first installment, The Freedom of Peaceful Action, makes the philosophic case that an approach starting from observational reason will indicate the practicality and ethical desirability of a free-market system based on rights.

Damning Words

Author: Hart, D. G.

Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing

ISBN: 0802873448

Category: Authors, American

Page: 279

View: 6109

Recounts a famously outspoken agnostic's surprising relationship with Christianity H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) was a reporter, literary critic, editor, author--and a famous American agnostic. From his role in the Scopes Trial to his advocacy of science and reason in public life, Mencken is generally regarded as one of the fiercest critics of Christianity in his day. In this biography D. G. Hart presents a provocative, iconoclastic perspective on Mencken's life. Even as Mencken vividly debunked American religious ideals, says Hart, it was Christianity that largely framed his ideas, career, and fame. Mencken's relationship to the Christian faith was at once antagonistic and symbiotic. Using plenty of Mencken's own words, Damning Words superbly portrays an influential figure in twentieth-century America and, at the same time, casts telling new light on his era.

American Political Humor: Masters of Satire and Their Impact on U.S. Policy and Culture [2 volumes]

Author: Jody C. Baumgartner

Publisher: ABC-CLIO

ISBN: 1440854866

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 680

View: 9712

This two-volume set surveys the profound impact that political humor and satire have had on American culture and politics over the years, paying special attention to the explosion of political humor in today's wide-ranging and turbulent media environment. • Documents the history of political humor in the United States in all of its many forms, with the bulk of coverage weighted toward contemporary political satire and satirists • Covers writers, cartoonists, radio personalities, television and movie performers, and internet celebrities • Profiles influential television programs, movies, and other forms of entertainment that have made their mark on American politics and culture • Includes a chronology of events

George S. Schuyler

Author: Oscar Renal Williams

Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press

ISBN: 9781572335813

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 232

View: 2027

George S. Schuyler was a journalist and cultural critic whose writings appeared in such diverse publications as Crisis, Nation, Negro Digest, American Mercury, and National Review. In the 1920s, Schuyler was a member of the American Socialist Party and espoused liberal views. By the 1950s, he had become an ardent supporter of U.S. Sen. Joseph P. McCarthy and touted himself as an American patriot, believing that communism was a threat to African Americans. In the 1960s, Schuyler was one of the few African Americans who openly characterized the civil rights movement as a communist-inspired plot to destroy America. Although Schuyler was a prolific writer and an outspoken commentator during his fifty-four-year career, historians of twentieth-century African American history have paid scant attention to his literary endeavors and have overlooked his conservative views. George S. Schuyler: Portrait of a Black Conservative is the first full biography of Schuyler and traces his transformation from a socialist to a conservative by examining his childhood, his career as a journalist and writer, his opinions about race and class, and his desire for professional notoriety. The book is divided into three parts. Part I discusses Schuyler's early life prior to his arrival in Harlem and his becoming a writer for the Messenger, an African American socialist magazine edited by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen. Part II chronicles his career as a journalist, novelist, satirist, and critic from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s through World War II. Part III reviews his post-World War II career from the late 1940s until his death in 1977. While Schuyler's career took many turns, his writings reveal surprising continuities and the stamp of a true American iconoclast, not unlike his mentor and hero, H. L. Mencken.