As a ""Mencken Item"" this may have some wider interest than the text would indicate. The foreword, telling the story of the family and of the strange bequest and its results, the extensive footnotes amplifying -- for modern readers -- the facts implicit in the text -- for all of this H. L. Mencken is responsible. The actual lectures comprising The Charlatanry of the Learned, delivered by an ancestor of his, are translated by H.L.M., and will interest those seeking out the byways of literary curiosities, rather than the general reading public or even the average student of literature. He has based his thesis on the contention that charlatanry is not confined to medicine, but that there are quacks in the learned professions in all directions, and proceeds to pillory some of his contemporaries to prove his point. It has, at times, surprising timeliness in his comments on back-scratching reviews et al, but for the most part it is not intended for today's casual reader.