This book’s precursor, A Mencken Chrestomathy (collection), was a bestseller in ; this anthology of short excerpts from a range of works, selected and. Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, – January 29, ) was an American journalist, .. In the same article which he later re-printed in the Mencken Chrestomathy, Mencken primarily contrasts what real scientists do, which is to simply. The culling of the best, the choicest passages, from the famous Prejudices, which in their day made Mencken leader of the iconoclasts, shocker.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — A Mencken Chrestomathy by H. A Mencken Chrestomathy by H. Chrestonathy is to be confronted with the sad realization that most of what we find in newspapers and journals today is mere cherstomathy. While an Alexander Cockburn or a Christopher Hitchens can churn out a brilliant, at times almost sublime piece of invective, the sad fact is that for all their talent, they are mere polemicists.

Mencken, however, was a true contraria To read H.

Mencken, however, was a true contrarian, and, for that chreshomathy, he had far more scope for his talents. It would be quite fair to call him a true American genius whose chrrestomathy and Mark Twain-like skepticism leave the reader sometimes convulsed with laughter, sometimes completely enraged, but always transfixed with admiration.

In this volume of more than pages, Mencken has collected more than choice passages, ranging from men, women, and southerners to religion, politics, music, literature, and the arts. This selection is a pure delight, and, while not every piece entertains, one cannot help but be awed by this true polymath and regret not having him around today. Edited and annotated by H.

Those musically inclined mencksn enjoy his pieces on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there is material for a hundred controversies in his selections on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.

The author chose selections form his out of print writings: Paperbackpages. Published April 12th by Vintage first published April 12th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about A Mencken Chrestomathyplease sign up. Who is Mencken Chrestomathy? Mencken is the who in this. Mencken then chose to collect some of his journalistic pieces in a book, which is called …more H.

Mencken then chose to collect some of his journalistic pieces in a book, which is called a chrestomathy similar to an anthology of poems or short stories less. See 1 question about A Mencken Chrestomathy…. Lists with This Book.

Mar 11, Ted rated it really liked it Shelves: The Anglo-Saxon of the great herd is, in many important respects, the least civilized of white men and the least capable of true civilization.


His political ideas are crude and shallow. He is almost totally devoid of esthetic feeling.

The most elementary facts about the physical universe alarm him, and incite him to put them down. Mencken at the Baltimore Sun I’ve decided to abandon reading this. Mencken writes extremely well. He uses lots of different words, some obscure like “chrestomathy” The Anglo-Saxon of the great herd is, in many important respects, the least civilized of white men and the least capable of true civilization.

He uses lots of different words, some obscure like “chrestomathy”, the use of which is explained in detail in Mencken’s Preface — the editor didn’t want it ; but what he does with those words is not easy to judge. After being initially amused, I became irritated, a bit bored, found it harder to pick up. And it is very long, so I decided that I could pick it up now and then, but would officially clear it off the “currently reading” shelf and move on.

The subtitle references “his choicest writings”. There is nothing in this book from any of his earlier collections that were still in print — only things that that had either never appeared in book form before eg, items written for the Baltimore Sunor from books then out of print.

Presumably many books that were still selling had a few “choice” items? The format of the book is simple. Thirty-one chapters, each with a topic name. Heck, I may as well list them.

Types of Men III. Crime and Punishment VII. Appendix Yes the last one is a chapter, two pieces that fit on one page.

A MENCKEN CHRESTOMATHY by H.L. Mencken | Kirkus Reviews

Selections range from a single paragraph to many pages. The TOC has every item in it, which helps. But too bad anyway. Homo Sapiens, Types of Men, Women. Mencken at his best — acerbic, witty, outspoken. Either I wasn’t reading critically, or these pieces didn’t really express some of his more disturbing thoughts.

A Mencken Chrestomathy

Presumably Mencken was misogynistic to a degree, not unusual in his day for a popular humorist. But in these chapters are found many comparisons between men and women, most resulting in women coming off the better of the two. For example, the first item in the chapter Women is called “The Feminine Mind”.

It’s a long one, opening like this: A man’s women folk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity. His most gaudy sayings and doings seldom deceive them; they see the actual man within, and know him for a shallow and pathetic fellow.

In this fact, perhaps, lies one of the best proofs of feminine intelligence, or, as the common phrase makes it, feminine intuition. The marks of that so-called intuition are simply a sharp and accurate perception of reality, a habitual immunity to emotional enchantment, a relentless capacity for distinguishing clearly between the appearance and the substance. The appearance, in the normal family circle, is a hero, a magnifico, a demigod.

The substance is a poor mountebank. Yes, there is that four word opening, “A man’s women folk”. Yet the rest of the thought expressed chrestomahhy the possession may be nothing more than the man’s mistaken impression of things.


In these chapters, especially the first two, Mencken is primarily concerned with elucidating his contempt for the normal male of the species; and comparisons of that abject specimen to the female of the species is one of the chief examples he uses to justify this contempt.

Assuming that last sentence is not pure imagining on my part, it starts explaining my subsequent … irritation with the book. Mencken’s central thesis being the doltishnesh of the average man, he seems to conclude that the institutions, the ideals, the aspirations of the male segment of humanity are infected with the same characteristics as the subjects from which they issue.

That is, he is a good-natured pessimist about homo sapiens. Now it’s true that these are, actually, profound questions. Mencken knows they are, though as a popular q the profundity is not something menken emphasizes. He doesn’t like democracy. He thinks governance should be provided by an aristocracy. Yes, probably an chrestomxthy aristocracy — a la Plato? The common person is not capable of making good decisions about important things.

And I guess that I like to think of myself as mfncken optimist about humans. But I certainly could be wrong. The Science of Biology Older review: Phedre Previous library review: Time Will Darken It Next library review: View all 5 comments. Jun 11, Frederick rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Over the years I’ve read bits and pieces of this collection of bits and pieces.

I was most fascinated with it when I was in my early twenties. I’m fairly certain Mencken compiled this himself and that it was published shortly before a stroke ended his ability to write. One has to know something about American newspapers and magazines of th Over the years I’ve read bits and pieces of this collection of bits and pieces. One has to know something about American newspapers and magazines of the early-to-mid-twentieth century to really relate to this stuff.

Briefly, Mencken was an American newspaperman of the most hardworking sort. He reported, edited, published, etc. Around or so he began to chresgomathy literary criticism and political commentary. He caricatured Woodrow Wilson as the hand-wringing, prudish “Archangel Woodrow.

Young, educated readers related to Mencken in much the same way college students in relate to Jon Stewart. Mencken championed writers who had been censored.

He skewered pompous politicians, bombastic ministers and grandiose businessmen. Mencken was something of a dynamo. But when the stock market crashed and the establishment he ridiculed was collapsing, Mencken fell into disfavor. His conservatism became more and more obvious to a readership seeking the socialism of Franklin D.