Chesterton, Mencken, and Shaw

Some critics are like chimney-sweepers; they put out the fire below, and frighten the swallows from their nests above; they scrape a long time in the chimney, cover themselves with soot, and bring nothing away but a bag of cinders, and then sing from the top of the house as if they had built it.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, TABLE TALK(1878)

Among those who occasionally loosed barbs in Chesterton’s direction was H. L. Mencken—the noted literary critic and wordsmith. Brilliant, learned, and noted for his acerbic style, Mencken relished journalistic swordplay as few others did.

Kevin Belmonte, Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G. K. Chesterton, from Chapter 14


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