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. According to Mencken, what kind of books did Theodore Dreiser produce?

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

4. Who is the editor of this volume?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What was the nature of Mencken's first memory, as described in "Introduction to the Universe"?

5. What was accomplished by Walt Whitman's "Democratic Vistas," according to Mencken?

6. What was Mencken's ideal form of government?

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

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

9. What was Mencken's opinion about Henry Cabot Lodge?

10. According to Mencken, why do so many people lie?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

What was Mencken's perspective on education? Is there a difference between education done in school, and education derived from "real life" so to speak? How does Mencken view his lack of a college education? What does Mencken see as the problem with modern school-based education?

(see the answer keys)

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