H. L. MENCKEN: THE AMERICAN SCENE by Huntington- Ed. Cairns
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H. L. MENCKEN: THE AMERICAN SCENE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mencken's Americana...Horatio Alger up in Mabel's room with the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and Whistler's mother...professors looking like undertakers, undertakers looking like Coolidge, Coolidge sleeping in the White House, Democracy marching on...boyscouts dreaming of Theda Bara, all-night elbow-benders conducting affairs of state, genteel busybodies, in an orgy of church socials, chorus girl profundities gaggling the Great White Way, masters of their fate, captains of their souls...Oh what a girl was Mary Baker Eddy...William Jennings Bryan, the sainted boob, the venerable fly-catcher, defending the Will of God at the monkey trial amidst the medieval splendors of Dayton, Tennessee...Seventh Day Adventists damning the Rosicrucians damning Methodists consigning to Hell sanitary engineers...Mutt & Jeff visiting the Vatican...Making the world safe for apple pie...splendid essays on Veblen and his cow , on Dreiser, on Cooper, on the dung-fork moralists of the hills, blasts from Prejudices, pages from the pioneering American Language, superb tours of politics, religion, other waxworks of the Republic...one must think of Carlyle and Shaw, of Wilde and Nietzsche, Barnum & Bailey, when thinking of the Baltimore bombardier...proponent of the law that defeated presidential candidates be immediately strung-up lest they remain an intolerable nuisance the rest of our days (O Dick, O Barry, O Adlai)...emperor of invective, prestidigitator of prose, champion of human folly...still immense, still delightful, even pertinent in the new age of the Frug and the Bomb.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1965
Publisher: Knopf