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. Who is the editor of this volume?
(a) Alistair Cooke.
(b) H. L. Mencken.
(c) William Jennings Bryan.
(d) Alfred Knopf.

2. What does Mencken call a man who resists the charms of women?
(a) A most rare beast indeed.
(b) An exceedingly wise stone statue.
(c) A most disgusting cad.
(d) A most distinguished gentleman.

3. Why do "handsome men" deserve suspicion?
(a) They are "ugly" inside.
(b) The human body is inherently ugly.
(c) They are terrible conversationalists.
(d) They are always self-serving and vain.

4. What was the nature of the Prince of Wales story Mencken tells in "The Art Eternal"?
(a) The Prince of Wales framed a murderer he could not imprison by lawful means.
(b) The Prince of Wales stole in order to feed his citizens.
(c) The Prince of Wales begged for alms, in order to display his humility.
(d) The Prince of Wales lied in order to protect the virtues of a woman.

5. What criticism did Mencken have for the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation?
(a) It directly led to the Battle of Shiloh.
(b) It freed all slaves, when to preserve peace it should have freed only some.
(c) It freed slaves all at once, when it should have done it in a gradual way.
(d) It only freed specific slaves, and not all slaves.

6. How was Theodore Dreiser like Joseph Conrad, according to Mencken?
(a) They both had a love of pirate adventures and the sea life.
(b) They both seemed to hate women.
(c) Both men shared an innate pessimism.
(d) Both men were inherently optimistic.

7. According to Mencken, how did members of the lower class respond to Wilson?
(a) They were attracted to his lofty rhetoric.
(b) They "clapped like fools" at a recent speech.
(c) They responded to his lower class domestic policies.
(d) They threw rotten vegetables at him at the convention.

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

9. Which is NOT a reason Mencken gives for admiring Theodore Dreiser?
(a) Dreiser's insistence on describing every detail of a scene.
(b) Dreiser's unique place in the world of literature.
(c) The ability for Dreiser to touch a reader on an emotional level.
(d) Dreiser's unchanging subject matter and style.

10. What is a man's usual response to beauty?
(a) Lust.
(b) Indifference.
(c) Romantic affection.
(d) Highly-violent behavior.

11. According to Mencken, what was Christianity's history with lying?
(a) One must lie to oneself in order to adhere to religious beliefs.
(b) Lying is not expressly forbidden, and is oftentimes even encouraged.
(c) Every sermon uttered by a priest is a lie.
(d) Lying is a great sin before God.

12. What part of Mencken's work is NOT included in the volume?
(a) Mencken's political discourse of the 1920s.
(b) Mencken's esoteric views on art and art history.
(c) Mencken's nostalgic musings on Baltimore.
(d) Mencken's work on language and grammar.

13. What does Mencken make synonymous with democracy in "A Blind Spot"?
(a) Agnosticism.
(b) Hedonism.
(c) Totalitarianism.
(d) Puritanism.

14. In "Star-Spangled Man," Mencken argued that who, besides soldiers, should get medals?
(a) Dock workers and tugboat captains.
(b) Murderers, thieves, and rapists.
(c) Anyone hostile to the United States.
(d) Writers and intellectuals.

15. How did Gene the magistrate handle an overzealous Methodist clergyman?
(a) Gene had policemen follow the clergyman wherever he went.
(b) Gene created trumped-up charges to render him no longer a problem.
(c) Gene ruled that the clergyman was within his rights to practice in the Jewish ghetto.
(d) Gene ruled that religion was essential to the functioning of a democracy.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?

2. In "Gore in the Caribees," how was Jose Miguel captured?

3. What was Mencken's nickname for Chesapeake Bay?

4. What dominated Puritanism, according to Mencken in "The National Letters"?

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

(see the answer keys)

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