The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What profession should the truth-teller NOT aspire to, according to Mencken?
(a) Owner of a large company.
(b) A bartender.
(c) A jewelry maker.
(d) The President of the United States.

2. Which book was Mencken's touchstone into literature?
(a) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
(b) Thomas Paine's Common Sense.
(c) Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
(d) Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers.

3. What was the subject of Walt Whitman's "Democratic Vistas"?
(a) The awe-inspiring beauty of several places in America.
(b) Whitman's argument that republicanism is much preferred to democracy.
(c) Whitman's desire that a class of intellectuals would rise up to rule America.
(d) Whitman's faith in the common man to rule himself.

4. What did Gene the magistrate do with respect to an old man in his court accused of wife beating?
(a) Gene threatened the man with made-up punishments to get him to reform.
(b) Gene applauded the man for keeping his wife well-behaved.
(c) Gene put him in jail for two years.
(d) Gene had the court bailiff beat the man, just as he had beat his wife.

5. Why was Theodore Dreiser compared to Franz Schubert by Mencken?
(a) Dreiser and Schubert exhibited an uncommon and sometimes perverse imagination.
(b) Dreiser and Schubert both created work that is "lighter than air."
(c) Dreiser and Schubert used whimsy, irony, and a sense of silliness.
(d) Dreiser and Schubert didn't know the theory of their arts, but nonetheless they produce valuable work.

6. In "Gore in the Caribees," what was Mencken's perspective on the revolution in Cuba?
(a) Mencken thought it is newsworthy, and he asks to cover it.
(b) Mencken refused to cover the event, and is fired by his newspaper.
(c) Mencken was fervently pro-Cuba, and travels to the country to engage in propaganda.
(d) Mencken thought the event is not newsworthy, and only reluctantly does he travel to cover it.

7. Mencken provided what colorful phrase to describe a woman's body?
(a) A star-spangled mess.
(b) An hourglass of horrors.
(c) A slap-happy seal.
(d) A drunken dollar-mark.

8. What was Mencken's nickname for Chesapeake Bay?
(a) The big blue.
(b) Crab central.
(c) Home of the yummy lobsters.
(d) The protein factory.

9. What was Alistair Cooke's relationship to H. L. Mencken?
(a) A childhood acquaintance.
(b) A journalist and friend.
(c) A poet whom Mencken greatly admires.
(d) A political enemy.

10. What famous speech did Ralph Waldo Emerson deliver in 1837?
(a) The Pride of European Intellectualism.
(b) The Merits of Monogamy.
(c) The American Scholar.
(d) The Awfulness of War.

11. Which was NOT one of the reasons why a Christian wouldn't man cheat on his wife, according to "The Libertine"?
(a) He didn't have the courage.
(b) He was too fatigued by all the Christian rules he must follow.
(c) He had a conscience to tell him no.
(d) He didn't have the money to support a mistress.

12. In "Recollections of Notable Cops," why does Mencken find the idea of a police academy remarkable?
(a) Mencken regards policemen as corrupt, vicious brutes.
(b) Mencken states that police academies are contrary to the ideals of democracy.
(c) Academies usually teach useless skills; police academies teach useful skills.
(d) Cops in Mencken's younger days were not educated.

13. What did Mencken think about Woodrow Wilson's biography of George Washington?
(a) The biography had such a small print run as to be insignificant.
(b) "Woodrow Wilson couldn't shine George Washington's shoes."
(c) It was poorly written and factually inaccurate.
(d) He was relieved that someone finally showed George Washington for who he really was.

14. What did Mencken wonder about Henry Cabot Lodge?
(a) Why he felt he must belittle everyone around him.
(b) Why he thought he was so superior to everyone.
(c) Why he did not pick a more noble profession.
(d) Why he did not run for president.

15. Why shouldn't men trust other men?
(a) Men are only interested in accumulating wealth.
(b) Men can become violent at any moment.
(c) Men lie constantly.
(d) Men can be subject to temptation, and thus betrayal.

Short Answer Questions

1. What part of Mencken's work is NOT included in the volume?

2. What was "The Art Eternal" according to Mencken?

3. According to "Text for Newspaper Days," what is modern journalism missing?

4. In "The Good Man," what general statement did Mencken make about mankind?

5. Which was one of Mencken's criticisms for Woodrow Wilson?

(see the answer keys)

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