There are people who read too much, bibliobuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.--H. L. Mencken's Notebook 71, 1956
[September 12] Birthday of Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1958),
American journalist and social critic, who is well remembered for his annotated compilation of idioms and expressions, The American Language (1919). In The Smart Set, the influential magazine featuring work by emerging writers that he coedited from 1914 to 1923, Mencken noted caustically about himself and other critics, "It is impossible to think of a man of any actual force and originality, universally recognized as having those qualities, who spent his whole life appraising and describing the work of other men." Mencken's New Dictionary of Quotations (1942) contained more than seventy passages on critics and their critiques, including one from Hector Berlioz: "Poor devils! Where do they come from? At what age are they sent to the slaughter house? ... How many of them handled the brush before being reduced to the broom?"