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. Which book was Mencken's touchstone into literature?

2. Which is NOT a reason Mencken gives for admiring Theodore Dreiser?

3. Which man did Mencken dub the "Star-Spangled Man"?

4. What criticism did Dr. William Bayard Hale have for Woodrow Wilson?

5. Why does the typical man have a poor conception of beauty?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In "Gore in the Caribees," what becames of the rebel leader, Jose Miguel Gomez?

3. Why do men usually marry women who are "basically hideous"?

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

5. Instead of military generals, who did Mencken wish to award medals to in "Star-Spangled Man"?

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

7. What was Mencken's opinion of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The American Scholar"?

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

9. What criticisms did Mencken have for Theodore Dreiser?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

A modern controversy swirled around the issue of whether or not Mencken was a racist.

A) What might the article "Anglo-Saxon" tell us about settling the issue of Mencken's racism?

B) What might the article "The Calamity of Appomattox" tell us about settling the issue of Mencken's racism?

C) How does Mencken's frequent sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek tone complicate this controversy?

Essay Topic 3

Man-woman relationships were a frequent topic of study, as in "The Art Eternal" and "The Incomparable Buzz-Saw." How does Mencken view the dynamic between men and women? What are the differences between men and women? In what way do men and women engage in courtship?

(see the answer keys)

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