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Ambrose Bierce (1842 1914)

Lifespan: 1842 - 1914

Related: 1800s literature - American literature - satire - devil - dictionary

The Devil's Dictionary (1911) - Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 18421914?) was an American satirist, critic, poet, short story writer, editor, and journalist.

His clear style and lack of sentimentality have kept him popular when many of his contemporaries have become obscure. His dark, sardonic views and vehemence as a critic, earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce". Such was Bierce's venerable reputation, that it was feared that his judgment on any contemporary fiction of the day could make or break a writer's career. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce [Apr 2006]

Oscar Wilde [...]

Songs were composed about Oscar Wilde but not by Ambrose Bierce. In the Wasp, Bierce attacked Wilde as the sovereign of unsufferables, an eneffable dunce with nothing to say, a hateful impostor, a stupid blockhead, an offensively daft crank, an intellectual jellyfish, a man with no thoughts and no thinker, a gawky gowk, the littlest and looniest of a brotherhood of simpletons, an idiot who would argue with a cast-iron dog, a speaker with the eloquence of a caller on a hog-ranch, a dunghill he-hen who would fly with eagles. Bierce characterized Wilde's lectures as verbal ditch water--meaningless, trite, and incoherent. He accused Wilde of wandering about posing as a statue of himself, of blowing crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck, of uttering copious overflows of ghastly bosh. Outside of the above, Bierce had no quarrel with the flamboyant Irishman, self-proclaimed genius, rage of London, master of the facetious, and champion of the aesthetic movement. In fact, Bierce had never even heard a lecture, nor had he read a syllable written by Wilde, So when Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, who was nearing the end of his North American lecture tour, placed his card on the Prattler's desk, Bierce was more amused than annoyed, especially at the Irishman's outlandish costume. ---http://www.donswaim.com/bierce-wilde.html [May 2004]


  1. The Devil's Dictionary (1911) - Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) was one of nineteenth-century America's most renowned satirists. The author of short stories, essays, fables, poems, and sketches, he was a popular columnist and wrote for several San Francisco and London newspapers during his forty-year journalism career. David E. Schultz is a technical editor. He is coeditor, with S. T. Joshi, of both A Sole Survivor, a collection of Bierce's autobiographical writings, and Lord of a Visible World, an autobiography-in-letters of H. P. Lovecraft. S. T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. He is the editor of The Collected Fables of Ambrose Bierce and author of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life. --About the Author via amazon.com

    A virtual onslaught of acerbic, confrontational wordplay, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary offers some 1,600 wickedly clever definitions to the vocabulary of everyday life. Little is sacred and few are safe, for Ambrose Bierce targets just about any pursuit, from matrimony to immortality, that allows our willful failings and excesses to shine forth.

    This is the most extensively annotated edition of a work by Bierce ever published, and the first edition of The Devil's Dictionary to provide detailed bibliographical information on every entry. It will be celebrated by wits and word lovers everywhere. --Book Description via amazon.com

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