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Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary, Tales, and Memoirs (Library of America) Hardcover – September 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

S. T. Joshi, editor, is the author of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1997) and many other books. He is also the editor of The Collected Fables of Ambrose Bierce (2000) and co-editor with David E. Schultz of Ambrose Bierce: A Sole Survivor-Bits of Autobiography (1998), Ambrose Bierce: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary Sources (1999), and The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary (2002).
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 219)
  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; annotated edition edition (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531022
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Since Amazon doesn't give a complete listing of the contents, I thought I would. Hopefully somebody might find this of use:

IN THE MIDST OF LIFE (TALES OF SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS)

Soldiers
A Horseman in the Sky
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Chickamauga
A Son of the Gods
One of the Missing
Killed at Resaca
The Affair at Coulter's Notch
The Coup de Grâce
Parker Adderson, Philosopher
An Affair of Outposts
The Story of a Conscience
One Kind of Officer
One Officer, One Man
George Thurston
The Mocking-Bird

Civilians
The Man Out of the Nose
An Adventure at Brownville
The Famous Gilson Bequest
The Applicant
A Watcher by the Dead
The Man and the Snake
A Holy Terror
The Suitable Surroundings
The Boarded Window
A Lady from Red Horse
The Eyes of the Panther

CAN SUCH THINGS BE?

Can Such Things Be?
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This is a can't miss treat for the literary or the civil war buff. Give it as a gift if you want to be remembered.

Bierce is a strange, haunting writer. He comes directly to us in this printing as unedited and sans commentary. Bierce's heavy burden from a rather severe Civil War post-traumatic stress disorder is central to his writings. His `Devil's Dictionary' is frequently quoted but it may do Bierce an injustice as a sort of typecasting to be considered without exploring the full dimensions of the prolific writer in his time and place.

Bierce can be accessed online. The power of Bierce's work for me is captured in his short essay "A Son of the Gods". If you've not sampled Bierce before, give this one a try. It's among those in this collection. It's a rare author that can pull a tear and possess the readers mind's eye. Ambrose Bierce is an author who seizes on simple moments to create a stunning story.

Bierce is a 19th century socio-rhetorical everyman, however, at core, he's like no other witness of the times. His post war stories on the quirks of his San Francisco newspaper beat are thoroughly entertaining. Bierce writes on many topics with an acerbic and cynical tone and elsewhere he writes as a man forged by discipline and fire. He can be genteel. He can be over the top. He can be moving and empathetic. He can be rough as a cob. There is an essential human reflection to be considered in every tale. In the 21st century, his word choices and usage are `quaint' but quite readable although you cannot escape a feeling that already, some meaning is overcome by the intervening 150 years. I'd wager that in another hundred years his material will need a `modern translation' as language moves on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is quite a good collection of some of Ambrose Bierce's best works of fiction and non-fiction in a nice compact hardback volume. The publisher is the prestigious "Library of America" which has been anthologizing for years those books regarded as the best and most significant ever produced in the literary history of the United States. When I heard that they were going to put into circulation some of Bierce's writings I could only thought: "Wow, about time!!!". You know, Bierce has always been something of an outsider and despite the more than evident quality of his writing (he has more substance than Mark Twain and is the best stylist of his generation) his figure and works remain not very well known or appreciated. Proof of this is the fact that "The Library of America" had even published the works of pulp writers like H.P. Lovecraft or Dashiell Hammett before Bierce's (who is the much better author). For many, he is still just the guy who wrote "The Devil's Dictionary" (a cruel satirical volume inconsistently marketed as "a book of humour") and that quaint short story of a man about to be hanged who sees the events of his life passing before him. This is a pity, but the truth is that Bierce's style and grim usual themes are not for everyone and that his unrelenting acerbic wit coupled with his biased opinions can disgust many people as they confront them against some very uncomfortable truths. Anyway, it is beyond this humble reviewer's remit to change the world's ways in that respect.

This new volume is an excellent introduction for anyone wishing to penetrate into the dark, witty and ingenious world of the most genuine satirist and maverick America has ever produced. It includes his two main volumes of short-stories "Can Such Things Be?" and "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians".
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Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Dictionary, Tales, and Memoirs (Library of America)
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