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

2. Charlie the policeman was charged with which task, in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?
(a) Investigating a serial pursesnatcher.
(b) Recruiting craftsmen to refurbish the jail.
(c) Organizing the annual policeman's ball.
(d) Finding and arresting at least a dozen drunkards every shift.

3. Which decade, according to the author, was Mencken at his best?
(a) The 1920s.
(b) The 1930s.
(c) The 1940s.
(d) The 1910s.

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 begged for alms, in order to display his humility.
(c) The Prince of Wales lied in order to protect the virtues of a woman.
(d) The Prince of Wales stole in order to feed his citizens.

5. Which was NOT a source of loud noise in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?
(a) Iron tires hitting hard cobblestone streets.
(b) Penny candy vendors hawking their candy.
(c) Children singing and yelling in the streets.
(d) Barking dogs.

6. According to Mencken, what was the Union fighting for in the Civil War?
(a) Profit.
(b) Against the notion of self-determinism.
(c) Freedom.
(d) Self-governance.

7. What was "The Art Eternal" according to Mencken?
(a) Lying.
(b) Prostitution.
(c) Portrait painting.
(d) Literature.

8. Which war was General John Pershing most famously involved in?
(a) World War II.
(b) The War of the Roses.
(c) World War I.
(d) The Civil War.

9. What dominated Puritanism, according to Mencken in "The National Letters"?
(a) Religious tomfoolery.
(b) The simple necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.
(c) Fear, and the suspicion of art.
(d) Free-thinking men of purpose.

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

11. 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.

12. Which was one of Mencken's criticisms for Woodrow Wilson?
(a) He had "never looked a common man in the eye."
(b) He took the presidential office by voter fraud and corruption.
(c) He was stuffy and puritanical.
(d) He had the gall to pardon Eugene Debs.

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

14. According to Mencken, what kind of books did Theodore Dreiser produce?
(a) Wheezing, moralizing diatribes.
(b) Breezy, summer-day reading.
(c) Weighty, substantial tomes that one must concentrate on for a long time.
(d) Books more important as museum pieces than texts that should be read.

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

Short Answer Questions

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

2. What was the "last straw" that forced Mencken to quit the organization in #16?

3. Which was described as Mencken's earliest memory?

4. Which is NOT one of the reasons winters were difficult in 1880s Baltimore?

5. What kind of presence did Henry Cabot Lodge have, according to Mencken?

(see the answer keys)

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