H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

H. L.
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken
1880
1956

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar

Author Quotes

On one issue, at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.

Philosophy, as the modern world knows it, is only intellectual club-swinging.

I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them.

Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.

It costs more to maintain ten vices than one virtue.

Jealousy is the theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.

Love is like a war. Easy to start, hard to end, and impossible to forget.

Monogamy, in brief, kills passion -- and passion is the most dangerous of all the surviving enemies to what we call civilization, which is based upon order, decorum, restraint, formality, industry, regimentation. The civilized man -- the ideal civilized man -- is simply one who never sacrifices the common security to his private passions. He reaches perfection when he even ceases to love passionately -- when he reduces the most profound of all his instinctive experiences from the level of an ecstasy to the level of a mere device for replenishing the armies and workshops of the world, keeping clothes in repair, reducing the infant death-rate, providing enough tenants for every landlord, and making it possible for the Polizei to know where every citizen is at any hour of the day or night. Monogamy accomplishes this, not by producing satiety, but by destroying appetite. It makes passion formal and uninspiring, and so gradually kills it.

No matter how long he lives, no man ever becomes as wise as the average woman of forty-eight.

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.

I read the other day a book defending the Ten Commandments. The best of all arguments for them, however, was omitted. It is that there are not forty of them.

Immorality is the morality of those who are having a better time. You will never convince the average of farmer's mare that the late Maud S. was not dreadfully immoral.

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

Judge: a law student who marks his own examination-papers.

Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.

Morality and honor are not to be confused. The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

No matter how much a woman loved a man, it would still give her a glow to see him commit suicide for her.

On William Shakespeare: After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.

Poetry has done enough when it charms, but prose must also convince.

I write in order to attain that feeling of tension relieved and function achieved which a cow enjoys on giving milk.

Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.

It is hard for the ape to believe he descended from man.

Jury: A group of twelve man who, having lied to the judge about their hearing, health, and business engagements, have failed to fool him.

Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.

Author Picture
First Name
H. L.
Last Name
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken
Birth Date
1880
Death Date
1956
Bio

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar