Bluebeard's Goat and Other Stories by H. L. Mencken

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H.L. Mencken, in his illustrious career as a journalist, made his reputation with satirical writing and controversial ideals. Although his is a name not customarily associated with short fiction, it was his first literary love. From 1900 to 1919, he published nearly 60 stories and short-shorts, sometimes pseudonymously. Here for the first time, 30 of Mencken's thoroughly entertaining stories are collected, showcasing Mencken's wit and skill in a medium for which he is not well known. Meet a bumbling anarchist newspaper editor; the `Charmed Circle' of Long Island in a story strikingly prescient of F. Scott Fitzgerald; a shop owner whose mannequins belie a horrific secret; and a pair of wily entrepreneurs working in the Caribbean, among plenty of other excellent, amusing, and memorable stories. ""Superb, clever, or hilarious use of language. . . Read ""Epithalamium,"" a sendup of the social rigmarole of marriage for its exquisite choice of words, or the Poe-esque ""The Window of Horrors,"" about a clothier and his obsession with life-like mannequins, for its chills. For quintessential Mencken, read ""The Man of God,"" whose lowly grocer becomes an evangelist.""-Publishers Weekly

About H. L. Mencken

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H.L. Mencken was born in Baltimore, Maryland, a city he considered home despite his many years in New York. As a child he attended Professor Friedrich Knapp's Institute, a private school for children of German descent. He completed his secondary education at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated at the age of 16. Mencken wanted to be a writer but was obligated to work in his father's cigar factory. When his father died suddenly in 1899, Mencken immediately sought a job at the Baltimore Herald. Through he began with no experience in journalism, he quickly learned every job at the newspaper and at age 25 became its editor. Mencken went on to build himself a reputation as one of America's most brilliant writers and literary critics. His basic approach was to question everything and to accept no limits on personal freedom. He attacked organized religion, American cultural and literary standards, and every aspect of American life that he found shallow, ignorant, or false - which was almost everything. From the 1920's until his death, Mencken's sharp wit and penetrating social commentary made him one of the most highly regarded - and fiercely hated - of American social critics. He was later memorialized in the dramatic portrait of the cynical journalist in the play and film Inherit the Wind. Shortly after World War I, Mencken began a project that was to fascinate him for the rest of his life: a study of American language and how it had evolved from British English. In 1919 he published The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States. To this and his publisher's surprise, the book sold out quickly; its wit and nonscholarly approach attracted many readers who would not normally buy a book on such a subject. In 1936, a revised and enlarged edition was published, and in 1945 and 1948, supplements were added. The work shows not only how American English differs from British English but how the 300 year American experience shaped American dialect. Thus the book, still considered a classic in its field, is both a linguistic and social history of the United States.
Published December 4, 2012 by Dufour Editions. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The flamboyant critic Mencken, one of the most prominent literary figures of his day, once remarked, “Criticism is prejudice made plausible.” Readers seeking the brilliant wit that, in Mencken’s nonfiction, succeeded in unmasking hypocrites, had better skip this short fiction, wherein the a...

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Bluebeard's Goat and Other St...

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