Twilight reflections: the hold of Victorian Baltimore on Lizette Woodworth Reese and H.L. Mencken

Author/Creator ORCID




Towson University. Department of English


Citation of Original Publication

Hahn, H. George, II. "Twilight reflections: The hold of Victorian Baltimore on Lizette Woodworth Reese and H.L. Mencken." The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of the Arts in the South, vol. 22, no. 4, 1984, pp. 5-21. MLA International Bibliography,



[From article]: To the old, as Faulkner wrote in “A Rose for Emily,” “all the past is not a diminishing road but, instead, a huge meadow which no winter ever quite touches.” Certainly for Baltimore’s two preeminent native authors, the spring meadows of their youth remain forever green in a set of autobiographical masterpieces, in many ways the crowns of their respective achievements. Taken together, Lizette Woodworth Reese’s A Victorian Village (1929) and The York Road (1931) and H. L. Mencken’s Happy Days (1940) and Heathen Days (1943) provide sensitive and vivid glimpses of the last forty years of nineteenth-century Baltimore. Even more, they reveal the Victorian Baltimore of their early years to have been a fertile soil and salubrious climate for the nurturing of their geniuses. Combined, these reminiscences allow a shape and color to their times often unnoticed by social historians and highlight a dimension to their work usually neglected by literary historians concerned more with belles lettres than with autobiography.