Essay Topic 1
In articles like "The Baltimore of the Eighties," Mencken looks back on his childhood. What attitude does Mencken have toward childhood? How did his childhood impact the man he became? Why is it valuable to take this look back?
Essay Topic 2
Mencken often mentions the idea of an American aristocracy, as in "The National Letters." What could an American aristocracy accomplish, to Mencken's mind? How does Mencken's ideas for the aristocracy relate to his opinions about intellectuals versus common people? What kinds of government systems does he compare the aristocracy to?
Essay Topic 3
Articles such as "Theodore Dreiser" and "Masters of Tone" present Mencken the art critic.
A) What can Mencken's criticisms reveal about his theory of art? Cite specific examples.
B) What can Mencken's criticisms reveal about his own preferences? Can art be objectively excellent, or does it always depend upon the viewer/spectator?
Essay Topic 4
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