By H. L. Mencken
A decision choice of H.L. Mencken's formerly out-of-print writings.
Edited and annotated via H.L.M., this can be a choice from his out-of-print writings. they arrive in most cases from books—the six of the PREJUDICES sequence, A e-book OF BURLESQUES, IN safety of ladies, NOTES ON DEMOCRACY, creating a PRESIDENT, A ebook OF CALUMNY, TREATISE ON correct AND WRONG—but there also are journal and newspaper items that by no means acquired among covers (from the yankee Mercury, the shrewdpermanent Set, and the Baltimore night solar) and a few notes that have been by no means formerly released at all.
Readers will locate edification and enjoyment in his estimates of a number of Americans—Woodrow Wilson, Aimee Semple McPherson, Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II, James Gibbons Huneker, Rudolph Valentino, Calvin Coolidge, Ring Lardner, Theodore Dreiser, and Walt Whitman. these musically vulnerable will take pleasure in his items on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there's fabric for 100 controversies in his decisions on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.
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Extra info for A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing
For example: I have never made an aspic salad, nor baked a pie. However, the idea of writing a cookbook, after it had been suggested for a number of years, began to be somewhat alluring. Why not give it a try? An afternoon in my study, planning the chapters and writing out recipes, convinced me that the task would be unbearably dull. But perhaps I wasn’t going at it in the right manner. So I spent the next few days examining critically the more popular, chatty volumes on cookery. It was during that time that I conceived the idea for the pages that follow.
II Fed on this meager and monotonous fare, hungry for white bread, coffee, and sugar, flesh and fowl, I came to America. Against the background of pilchards and polenta, what I found here, in this land of refugees from hunger and oppression, remains for me a dramatic and ever fascinating story. I found, first of all, the meaning, the consumable, edible meaning, of a simple word, lost in the dictionary among thousands of others—the meaning of the word abundance. I had known scarcity, had lived on intimate terms with its agonizing reality; and the discovery of its opposite, its annihilator, was an experience so maddening with joy, so awful and bewildering, that I am not yet fully recovered from the initial shock.
My grandfather, who preferred bread dunked in wine—which he had regularly for breakfast until his eighty-eighth year, when he died prematurely of snakebite–sought to console me on such occasions by telling me what he had had to eat when he was a boy. The sermon was his version of the familiar one which has left grandchildren grumbling since the first grandfather mumbled it in his beard. His fare, he assured me, had been the same polenta, served with the same befouled Mediterranean pilchard, but with this miserable difference: after the fish had been warmed over the coals, his mother suspended it on a string from the ceiling so that it hovered over the center of the table.