Dirda reviews this biography of Julian Hawthorne.
Did you know Hawthorne had a son who wrote for Hearst and rubbed shoulders with Twain?:
‘Over the course of his long life, Julian Hawthorne seems to have met every major literary and public figure of his time. As a child, he sometimes listened in as his father conversed with Emerson, Thoreau and Melville. At birthday parties, he played games with little Louisa May Alcott.’
Also from Michael Dirda, check out his visit to ‘Mencken Day’ in Baltimore:
‘We stayed for the afternoon talk-in which Richard Schrader revealed how slanted and inaccurate Mencken’s account of the Scopes evolution trial had been…’
The business of monkeys…
I’m often returned to the simple pleasures of bookishness while reading Dirda.
From a previous piece at the Times Literary Supplement (subscription required):
“As a student of his native literature, Mencken favours writers with the authentic American yawp – Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, the humorists George Ade and Ring Lardner. Huckleberry Finn is the novel he loves most (followed, somewhat surprisingly, by Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim). He judges Emerson to be overrated – “an importer of stale German elixirs, sometimes direct and sometimes through the Carlylean branch house”. He can’t bear the circumlocutions of Henry James and the gentility of William Dean Howells”
Elixirs and ideas Roger Scruton At The New Atlantis: ‘Scientism In The Arts & Humanities’ From Scientific Blogging: ‘The Humanities Are In Crisis-Science Is Not’ Repost-Adam Kirsch At The New Republic: ‘Art Over Biology’…Repost-Stanley Fish At The NY Times Blog: ‘The Last Professors: The Corporate Professors And The Fate Of The Humanities’
Menand wonders in his new book, why it often can take 9 years for a humanities PhD to get their doctorate. He suggests part of the answer lies in the numbers: fewer opportunities and fewer university programs since 1970. Overtrained and underpaid.