H. L. Mencken was perhaps the leading literary and cultural critic of the 1920s, and his books, magazine articles, and newspaper writing have given him a wide and enduring celebrity. Just about the last literary form that most readers would have expected Mencken to have attempted is poetry; and yet, in his early literary career, he wrote dozens of poems for a variety of publications. His very first book, Ventures into Verse (1903), was a slim collection of poetry. But that volume constitutes less than a third of Mencken's total output of poetry. Leading Mencken scholar S. T. Joshi has now, for the first time, collected the entirety of Mencken's verse, ranging from patriotic poems in the manner of Kipling, to satirical poems poking fun at politicians, actresses, and the institution of marriage, to surprisingly touching poems on romance, the seasons, and other subjects. Mencken exhibited an enviable skill in the handling of complex verse forms, and he also found the multifarious events of his day-from the Boer War to the Boxer Rebellion to the anti-liquor crusades of Carry Nation-fodder for his poetical pen. Mencken's many devotess can now sample the full range of his work as poet and poetical satirist. H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) is best known for his critical essays, collected in Prejudices (1919-27) and many other volumes, as well as his journalism for the Baltimore Evening Sun and other papers. His total output of writing comes to more than 12 million words. S. T. Joshi is a leading authority on Mencken and the editor of H. L. Mencken on American Literature (2002), Mencken's America (2004), and other volumes. He has recently published a new bibliography of Mencken (2009).
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Published August 30, 2009
by Hippocampus Press.
Literature & Fiction.