Monday, January 25, 2010

Essay: "The Sahara of the Bozart." H.L. Mencken

10-second review: The Post-Civil-War South represents “a drying up of a civilization,” an intellectual desert.


Of the state of Virginia: “It is years since an idea has come out of it.”

“As for the cause of this unanimous torpor and doltishness, this curious and almost pathological estrangement from everything that makes for a civilized culture…the South has simply been drained of all its best blood. The vast blood-letting of the Civil War has exterminated and wholly paralyzed the old aristocracy, and so left the land to the harsh mercies of the poor white trash.”

“Free inquiry is blocked by the idiotic certainties of ignorant men.”

“The philistinism of the new type of town-boomer Southerner is not only indifferent to the ideals of the Old South; it is positively antagonistic to them.”

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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