The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What cheeky nickname did Mencken give Theodore Dreiser?

2. What did Mencken wonder about Henry Cabot Lodge?

3. What quotation did Mencken borrow from Theodore Dreiser in "Cavia Cobaya"?

4. What was the nature of the Prince of Wales story Mencken tells in "The Art Eternal"?

5. Who presided over the Republican Convention of 1920?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Mencken, why would a Christian man not cheat on his wife, according to "The Libertine"?

2. How did Charlie get craftsmen to work at the jail in "Recollections of Notable Cops"?

3. What is democracy's aim, in "A Blind Spot"? What is a crime in the eyes of democracy?

4. What is the difference between men and women in regards to trust, according to "The Skeptic"?

5. How did Mencken answer the question of whether successful men should have mistresses?

6. Why did Alistair Cooke feel that Mencken experienced a "downfall" in the 1930s?

7. What was the chief problem of a Baltimore summer, according to Mencken in "The Baltimore of the Eighties"?

8. What was Mencken's remedy for curing the ills of modern religions?

9. Why did Mencken criticize Woodrow Wilson?

10. What questions did Mencken raise about the contemporary understanding of Abraham Lincoln?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Mencken often commented on political figures, such as in "Pater Patriae" and "Lodge."

A) Discuss two articles in which Mencken seems to have a positive opinion of the political figure. What does Mencken's admiration tell us about Mencken?

B) Discuss two articles in which Mencken displays a negative opinion of the political figure. Similar to A), what does Mencken's criticisms tell us about Mencken?

Essay Topic 2

Mencken mused about death in "Exeunt Omnes."

A) What was the aspect of death which interested Mencken the most?

B) How might "Exeunt Omnes" help us understand Mencken's anti-war stance? How does Mencken's attitude toward death relate to his anti-war stance?

C) Per Mencken's own apparent attitude, what might Mencken tell his readers is the best attitude to have toward death and mortality?

Essay Topic 3

Quackery was a favorite subject of Mencken's. What is quackery? Why does Mencken mock it? How does quackery relate to ignorance? In Mencken's view, do those who fall victim to quackery "deserve" their fate?

(see the answer keys)

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