H. L. Mencken

(1348 words)
  • Karen Leick (Ohio State University)

H. L. Mencken was the most well-known and influential American literary and cultural critic of the 1920s. Mencken deliberately printed controversial and even outrageous views and reviews in an effort to encourage readers to think critically about American art and life. He was never afraid to print what he believed, and his honesty, sarcasm, humor and passion attracted young readers in particular. Mencken’s great influence was frequently acknowledged throughout the decade; for example, in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926), Jake Barnes thinks: “I wondered where Cohn got that incapacity to enjoy Paris. Possibly from Mencken. Mencken hates Paris, I believe. So many young men get their likes and dislikes from Mencken”.

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Leick, Karen. "H. L. Mencken". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 July 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3079, accessed 26 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Literature of the American South