By H. L. Mencken

ISBN-10: 0394752090

ISBN-13: 9780394752099

Edited and annotated by way of H.L.M., it is a choice from his out-of-print writings. they arrive regularly from books—the six of the PREJUDICES sequence, A e-book OF BURLESQUES, IN protection of girls, NOTES ON DEMOCRACY, creating a PRESIDENT, A e-book OF CALUMNY, TREATISE ON correct AND WRONG—but there also are journal and newspaper items that by no means bought among covers (from the yankee Mercury, the clever Set, and the Baltimore night solar) and a few notes that have been by no means formerly released in any respect.
Readers will locate edification and entertainment in his estimates of a number of Americans—Woodrow Wilson, Aimee Semple McPherson, Roosevelt I and Roosevelt II, James Gibbons Huneker, Rudolph Valentino, Calvin Coolidge, Ring Lardner, Theodore Dreiser, and Walt Whitman. these musically susceptible will get pleasure from his items on Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner, and there's fabric for 100 controversies in his choices on Joseph Conrad, Thorstein Veblen, Nietzsche, and Madame Blavatsky.

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Extra resources for A Mencken Chrestomathy: His Own Selection of His Choicest Writing

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Others, like Henderson, wax nostalgic for pencils, or see romance in the quill pen. Not too many people miss writing on clay tablets. Not all the old ways are good ways. The pencil may be old—the first pencils appeared in Europe in the sixteenth century—but like the computer today and the telegraph in 1849, the pencil is a communication technology. ” Samuel F. B. Morse, the developer of the telegraph, was lucky that Thoreau was no Ted Kaczynski. The only letter bombs Thoreau sent from his cabin 33 34 ■ A Better Pencil on Walden Pond were literary ones.

There were other graphite deposits around the world, but no other ore was as pure as Borrowdale’s. Impure graphite crumbled or produced a scratchy line. In the later eighteenth century, the Borrowdale graphite deposits began to run low, and exports were curtailed. After the French Revolution, with his supply of English graphite embargoed, the French pencil maker Nicholas-Jacques Conté learned to produce a workable writing medium by grinding domestic graphite, mixing it with clay and water, and forcing the mixture into wooden casings which were then baked to harden the lead (this account of pencil history draws largely on Petroski 1990).

And it is not just the writing of these books, but also the technology of their dissemination that can spark trouble. The machinery of publishing includes writing on clay, carving in stone, and copying manuscripts by hand onto paper, parchment, vellum, papyrus, bamboo, or silk. In the age of mechanical reproduction, the printing press, the typewriter, and the mimeograph reproduced reading matter in quantities that scribes could never match, and now, in the digital age, computers serve to compose and disseminate both wired and wireless text in ways that are revising the definitions of reader and writer.

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