The Passing of a Profit and Other Forgotten Stories by Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken

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Before H. L. Mencken became "Mencken" he tried his hand at writing short stories for a wide variety of popular magazines. But ultimately he decided that fiction was not his forte and instead focused his energy on the essays and criticism that made him famous. Mencken's short stories have been virtually forgotten: omitted from bibliographies, overlooked by scholars, and available only to intrepid readers who hunted down copies of the original magazines. Thus The Passing of a Profit, Douglas Olson's collection of 17 forgotten stories written between 1900 and 1906, will be welcomed by Mencken aficionados. Sparkling with Mencken's trademark wit and irony, most of these stories are about "ugly Americans" pushed to their limits in dealings with "others": women, Europeans, Latin Americans, and Blacks. Several stories draw upon Mencken's travels in Jamaica. Although most of these stories are light farces with abrupt endings, "The Last Cavalry Charge" (1906) is a terrifying prophecy of the mechanized slaughters that were soon to define the twentieth century. Nobody who loves H. L. Mencken's voice will be immune to the charms of these stories. It is not often that a new book appears by a writer who has been dead for more than 50 years, but this volume will be new to virtually everyone. The Passing of a Profit is obligatory reading not merely for Mencken scholars but also for his legions of avid admirers.

About Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken

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Terry Teachout is a journalist and critic whose biography of Mencken, The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken, was published in 2002.Henry Louis Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880 and remained a lifelong resident. Opinionated and controversial, he wrote columns for the Baltimore Evening Sun that earned him a national reputation. He died in 1956.
Published May 1, 2012 by Forgotten Stories Press. 217 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Passing of a Profit and Other Forgotten Stories

The Washington Times

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Few people (save die-hard aficionados) would guess that the legendary critic and journalist Henry Louis Mencken once wrote fiction. Now Douglas Olson, a Mencken aficionado himself, has collected 17 short stories, published between 1900-1905, even unearthing one previously unrecorded by Mencken's ...

Jun 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Passing of a Profit and O...

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