Mencken, H. L. (18801956) Chapter uri icon


  • Henry Louis Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, was an extraordinarily influential, controversial, and prominent critic whose authority reached its height on the American scene in the 1920s. More than simply a literary or social commentator, Mencken occupied a roster of distinct roles; the critic Alfred Kazin said of his range of specialties, that if Mencken had never lived, it would have taken a whole army of assorted philosophers, monologists, editors, and patrons of the new writing to make up for him. Rising through the ranks of journalism from humble beginnings as a news-boy, Mencken developed a provocative prose style and used it to lampoon the hypocrisies that populated the American landscape. He brandished his noisy and sharp pen to denounce Victorians as Puritans, lambaste the sentimentality of the American South, attack the fundamentalism of the Bible Belt, and issue salvos against the American bourgeois, whom he dubbed the booboisie. One biographer noted of Mencken's opponents that he was against the American Legion as much as he was against the communists. He was against the communists as much as they were against the Republicans.

author list (cited authors)

  • Anderson, G., & Herr, K.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Anderson, Gary||Herr, Kathryn

editor list (cited editors)

  • Anderson, G. L., & Herr, K. G.

Book Title

  • Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice

publication date

  • January 2007