H. L. Mencken

AmericanWriterBio

Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, critic of American life and culture, and scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century. Many of his books remain in print. Mencken is known for writing The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial". He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians, pseudo-experts, the temperance movement, and uplifters. A keen cheerleader of scientific progress, he was very skeptical of economic theories and particularly critical of anti-intellectualism, bigotry, populism, fundamentalist Christianity, creationism, organized religion, the existence of God, and osteopathic/chiropractic medicine. In addition to his literary accomplishments, Mencken was known for his controversial ideas. As a frank admirer of German philosopher Nietzsche, he was not a proponent of representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. During and after World War I, he was sympathetic to the Germans, and was very distrustful of British propaganda. However, he also referred to Adolf Hitler and his followers as "ignorant thugs." Mencken, through his wide criticism of actions taken by government, has had a strong impact on the American left and the American libertarian movement.



Quotes by H. L. Mencken
It is the dull man who is always sure, and the sure man who is always dull. H. L. Mencken

I go on working for the same reason that a hen goes on laying eggs. H. L. Mencken

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. H. L. Mencken
  • Share
  • #Age

On one issue at least, men and women agree; they both distrust women. H. L. Mencken

A prohibitionist is the sort of man one couldn't care to drink with, even if he drank. H. L. Mencken

The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth--that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. H. L. Mencken

I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk. H. L. Mencken

The curse of man, and the cause of nearly all his woe, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible. H. L. Mencken

It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake. H. L. Mencken

No man could bring himself to reveal his true character, and, above all, his true limitations as a citizen and a Christian, his true meannesses, his true imbecilities, to his friends, or even to his wife. Honest autobiography is therefore a contradiction in terms: the moment a man considers himself, even in petto, he tries to gild and fresco himself. Thus a man's wife, however realistic her view of him, always flatters him in the end, for the worst she sees in him is appreciably better, by the time she sees it, than what is actually there. H. L. Mencken

Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas. H. L. Mencken

What men value in this world is not rights but privileges. H. L. Mencken

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. H. L. Mencken

Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies. H. L. Mencken

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends. H. L. Mencken

Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking. H. L. Mencken

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry. H. L. Mencken

Imagine the Creator as a stand up comedian - and at once the world becomes explicable. H. L. Mencken

The common argument that crime is caused by poverty is a kind of slander on the poor. H. L. Mencken

It is impossible to think of a man of any actual force and originality, universally recognized as having those qualities, who spent his whole life appraising and describing the work of other men. H. L. Mencken


H. L. Mencken's favourite topics
LoveMarriageReligionDemocracyPolitics

popular topics
Quote
Loading ...