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"The capital defect in the culture of These States is the lack of a civilized aristocracy, secure in its position, animated by an intelligent curiosity, skeptical of all facile generalizations, superior to the sentimentality of the mob, and delighting in the battle of ideas for its own sake."
- from "American Culture," Yale Review, June 1920, 804-17

Considered an iconoclast and a muckraker, Mencken was for ten years the editor of The American Mercury. This magazine ridiculed the contemporary mores and manners of the American scene. The chief targets included the stupidity of the "booboisie," Puritanism, prohibition, highbrow pretentiousness, and organized religion. Although his writing appears dated, Mencken stripped the remain vestiges of Victorianism and freed the American writer to explore diverse topics.

Primary Works

George Bernard Shaw: His Plays, 1905; The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1908; Men versus the Man, with Robert Rives La Monte, 1910; A Book of Burlesques, 1916; A Little Book in C Major, 1916; A Book of Prefaces, 1917; In defense of women, 1918; The American Language: First Edition, 1919; Prejudices: First Series, 1919; Prejudices: Second Series, 1920; The American credo; a contribution toward the interpretation of the national mind, by George Jean Nathan and H. L. Mencken, 1920; Prejudices: Third Series, 1922; Prejudices: fourth series, 1924; Notes on Democracy, 1926; Prejudices: Fifth Series, 1926; Prejudices: sixth series, 1927; Treatise on the Gods, 1930; Making a President: A Footnote to the Saga of Democracy, 1932; Treatise on Right and Wrong, 1934; The American language; an inquiry into the development of English in the United States, 1936; Happy days, 1880-1892, 1940; Newspaper days, 1899-1906, 1941; Heathen days, 1890-1936, 1943; Treatise on the gods, 1946; Christmas story, 1946; A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1949.

Minority report: H.L.Mencken's notebooks. NY: Knopf, 1956. PS3525.E43 M4

A carnival of buncombe. Edited by Malcolm Moos. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins P, 1956. E742 .M4

The bathtub hoax, and other blasts & bravos from the Chicago Tribune. Edited with an introd. and notes, by Robert McHugh. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958. PS3525.E43

Letters. Selected and annotated by Guy J. Forgue. With a personal note by Hamilton Owens. NY: Knopf, 1961. PS3525.E43 A16

The American language; an inquiry into the development of English in the United States. The 4th ed. and the two supplements, abridged, with annotations and new material, by Raven I. McDavid, Jr. With the assistance of David W. Maurer. NY: Knopf, 1963. PE2808 .M43

H.L. Mencken's Smart set criticism. Selected and edited by William H. Nolte. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell UP, 1968. PS3525 E43 A6

George Bernard Shaw; his plays. New Rochelle, N.Y., E. V. Glaser, 1969. PR5367 M4

The young Mencken; the best of his work. Collected by Carl Bode. NY: Dial P, 1973. PS3525 E43 A16

Mencken's last campaign: H. L. Mencken on the 1948 election. edited with an introd. by Joseph C. Goulden. Washington: New Republic Book Co., 1976. E815 .M45

The new Mencken letters. edited by Carl Bode. NY: Dial P, 1977. PS3525.E43 Z53

A choice of days: essays from happy days, newspaper days, and heathen days. selected and with an introd. by Edward L. Galligan. NY: Knopf, 1980. PS3525.E43 Z517

The diary of H.L. Mencken. edited by Charles A. Fecher. NY: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 1989. PS 3525 .E43 Z463

The gist of Mencken: quotations from America's critic, gleaned from newspapers, magazines, books, letters, and manuscripts by Mayo DuBasky. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow P, 1990. PS 3525 .E43 A6

The impossible H.L. Mencken: a selection of his best newspaper stories. edited by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers ; with a foreword by Gore Vidal. NY: Doubleday, 1991. PS3525 .E43 A6

H. L. Mencken on American Literature. Joshi, S. T. (ed., introd., and notes). Athens: Ohio UP, 2002.

Mencken's America. Joshi, S. T. (ed. and introd.). Athens: Ohio UP, 2004.

Selected Bibliography 1980 to Present

Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald's Mentors: Edmund Wilson, H. L. Menken, and Gerald Murphy. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2012.

Bulsterbaum, Allison. H.L. Mencken: a research guide. NY: Garland, 1988. PS3525 .E43 Z459

Fitzpatrick, Vincent. H.L. Mencken. NY: Continuum, 1989. PS 3525 .E43 Z554

- - -. H. L. Mencken. Macon, GA: Mercer UP, 2004.

Joshi, S. T. H. L. Mencken: An Annotated Bibliography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

Martin, Edward A. ed. In Defense of Marion Bloom: The Love of Marion Bloom and H. L. Mencken. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1996.

Riggio, Thomas P. Dreiser Mencken Letters: The Corresponence of Theodore Dreiser & H. L. Mencken, 1907-1945. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1986.

Schrader, Richard J. ed. H. L. Mencken: A Documentary Volume. Detroit: Gale, 2000.

Scruggs, Charles. The sage in Harlem: H.L. Mencken and the black writers of the 1920s. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1984.

- -. Critical essays on H.L. Mencken. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1987. PS3525 .E43 Z547

Williams, W. H. A. H.L. Mencken revisited. NY: Twayne, 1998. PS3525 .E43 Z914

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 7: H. L. Mencken." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: http://www.paulreuben.website/pal/chap7/mencken.html (provide page date or date of your login).

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