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H.L. Mencken and the South

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❶If chemists were similarly given to fanciful and mystical guessing, they would have hatched a quantum theory forty years ago to account for the variations that they observed in atomic weights.

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*Mencken, H.L.

Reconstruction appeared to him an attempt to force him to give up not only his ancient mode of living but even his whole view of life. It would [Mencken says] be impossible in all history to match so complete a drying-up of civilization. As Mencken put it:. The New England shopkeepers and theologians never really developed a civilization; all they ever developed was a government. In the South there were men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct, and aristocratic manner—in brief, superior men—in brief, gentry.

To politics, their chief diversion, they brought active and original minds. It was there that nearly all the political theories we still cherish and suffer under came to birth. A certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient Southern scheme of things.

The Ur-Confederate had leisure. He liked to toy with ideas. He was hospitable and tolerant. He had the vague thing that we call culture. In September of , I left my job at a basket factory in Wilmington, North Carolina and hitch-hiked up to Chapel Hill to become a student there.

Jimmy Carter may have been the last Jeffersonian to be president. Timely Abbeville Instritute articles and news delivered directly to your inbox.

Get a free gift and Abbeville Institute articles delivered to your inbox. Skip to content Toggle navigation. On the other hand, In the North, of course, there is also grossness, crossness, vulgarity. Of these some went North after the war and added much to Yankee society, the only Northern gain from the war that he mentions at all: The Southerner, at his worst, is never quite the surly cad that the Yankee is. As for the non-genteel Southerner, person-for-person, he is still the best part of the rest of the population: As Mencken put it: He concludes by saying that, in contrast to New England, In the South there were men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct, and aristocratic manner—in brief, superior men—in brief, gentry.

Thank you for your support! Books Is Davis a Traitor? Albert Taylor Bledsoe, author, Brion McClanahan and Mike Church, editors Published a year after the war, it provides the best argument every assembled in one book for the constitutional right of secession. Everyone interested in the overall design of the Constitution ratified by the several States in should read this book. Essays in Southern History and Culture Clyde Wilson A Collection of insightful essays on how Southerners think of themselves in the light of how they are perceived by outside cultural elites.

The Enduring Relevance of Robert E. The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution Brion McClanahan An article by article and clause by clause analysis of the Constitution ratified by the founding generation of and , a Constitution quite different from what the political class in Washington understands. American Academy Gold Medal, Died of heart failure in Baltimore, 29 January A Selection, edited by James T. Farrell, Happy Days: Nolte, The Young Mencken: Galligan, The Impossible Mencken: The Mencken Bibliography, Baltimore: A Ten-Year Supplement, —, Baltimore: A Research Guide, New York: Folcroft, original edition, Porter, Bern, H.

A Bibliography, Pasadena, California: Further Reading Angoff, Charles, H. A Portrait from Memory, New York: Yoseloff, Bode, Carl, Mencken, Carbondale: Knopf, Douglas, George H. Critic of American Life, Hamden, Connecticut: Archon, Downs, Robert B.

Macmillan, Farrell, James T. Vanguard Press, ; London: Heinemann, ; New York: Praeger, Manchester, William, Disturber of the Peace: The Life of H.

Mencken and His Friends, New York: Delacorte Press, Nolte, William H. I felt like the drunk at a comedy club, asking to be called out. His essays were often filled with half truths that were at once poignant and utterly pessimistic. Mencken always takes the argument one step further, always lobs another one-sided anecdote, always takes another jab at this politician or that writer.

Often you find yourself searching for his thesis beneath piles of contradiction and qualification. You have to judge him totally, roughly, approximately, without definition, as you would a barrage of artillery, for the general destruction rather than for the accuracy of the individual shots.

He presents an experience, and if he gets you, he gets you not by reasoned conviction, but by a conversion which you may or may not be able to dress up later as a philosophy.

His belief in social Darwinism terrifies me. And yet I was wont, as many fans are, to defend Mencken anyway. I was taken by his disregard for authority and mediocrity, and by the ballistic energy with which he denounced them. He may have been wrong, but, damn, it sounded right.

The ride was everything. Meanwhile, the world marched on without me. Closer to home, protesters flooded the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager. A grand jury failed to indict. Past his antiquated literary critiques and his roast of Franklin D. Looking for an escape, I instead found a searing commentary on contemporary affairs, a voice every bit as righteous as the Sunday reformers flooding my news feed.

A white police officer had killed an unarmed black man. It evolved into something much more malleable, less a legally binding document than a set of ten rough ideas. Injustice in America, he seemed to say, is systemic. The corruption of law is so engrained in our culture that only the perversely idealistic and monomaniacal would care to object. After the grand jury failed to indict Wilson, that word— systemic —dominated the national conversation.

Though Mencken routinely defended the civil rights of minorities in print, his diaries, which were only unsealed in , exposed a man who was both patronizing toward African Americans and unthinkingly anti-Semitic.

In an entry dated September 23, , for example, Mencken complains that Emma Ball, his black maid, had a tendency to overpolish his hardwood floors.


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Journalist H.L. Mencken was renowned for his playfully combative prose style and his politically incorrect points of view. First published in "Prejudices: Sixth Series" in , Mencken's essay "The Libido for the Ugly" stands as a powerful exercise in hyperbole and invective. Note his reliance on concrete examples and precise, descriptive details.

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H.L. Mencken January 12, I Carlo Tresca is the proprietor of a small Italian paper in New York, by name Il Martello. He runs to Liberal ideas, and when the Fascisti came into power in his native country, and began Ku Kluxing their opponents, he denounced them in his paper, and called upon the Italians in America to repudiate them.

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Satirical essays like Mencken's and Swift's allow the authors to make serious points in humorous entertaining ways. Teachers can use these essays to help students understand satire and persuasive essays. Mencken obviously believes that artist have a sort of sixth sense. A sense for appreciation of affect, cause and self-perseverance. Mencken describes the thoughts of these creators as minds that are able to see outside the ordinary. In today's society Mencken's theory has specks of truth in it.

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The essays of territorios-luchas.tkn were critical of all aspects of American culture and influenced American thought for over 50 years, setting the standard for satire in his day, especially during the year period following World War I and just prior to the start of the Great Depression. Relates the importance of essay is at its ups and oppressions of h. ' and women is the police brutality essay on the great depression. cm format: hl mencken s dust off on american essayist, h. 12, prejudices: a germanamerican journalist, entitled prejudices were president essay. Recently described the book's title: he simply audiobooks the .