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The Devil's Dictionary Hardcover – January 7, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 6 edition (January 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195126262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195126266
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.3 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An enjoyable work, fun to read as well as thought-provoking....Just because the dictionary is 90 years old doesn't make it any less apropos for modern readers."--Naples Daily News --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

<! - This edition is NOT an ebook - > <! - This edition is not included in the Amazon Search under either Ambrose Bierce or The Devil's Dictionary - > --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The large font is a plus in this book.
AmericanMe
Any reader,particularly of history by Ambrose Bierce,will greatly enjoy this book.
J. Guild
Oh yeah: this book makes EXCELLENT bathroom reading.
Meaghan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on August 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Beginning in 1881 and continuing to 1906, Ambrose Bierce created a series of sardonic word definitions of his own. Many of these were collected and published as The Cynic's Word Book, which he later protested was "a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve." So in 1911, he pulled together a collection that was more to his own liking and called it The Devil's Dictionary. The entries are a tad uneven in quality, but most are amusing and some are great. Each reader will have his own favorites, some of mine are as follows : ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous. ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on. CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision. DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work. DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another. EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. FUTURE, n.Read more ›
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Ralph Steadman is ABRIDGED. Do not purchase unless you are buying it for the drawings.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mark S. Williams on December 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition doesn't obliterate all the merits of a literary classic, but it comes remarkably close.
Do yourself and Ambrose Bierce a favor: purhcase a copy of The Devil's Dictionary put out by a reputable publisher instead. Whoever released this version didn't see fit to identify themselves, possibly for fear of crmininal proscecution. Defiling a literary masterpiece may not be a crime in the United States, but this release makes a good case for it becoming one.
Overlooking the fact no biographical or editorial information was deemed necessary for inclusion, the thugs involved in this crime weren't even responsible enough to check the accuracy of the text. In one instance, the use of the word "is" for "if" is obvious enough for the reader to reconstruct Mr. Bierce's original intention, but in other cases, his words are so carelessly mangled, his meaning is beyond comphrehension.
As written by Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dicionary is a uniquely wonderful reading experience. If I could rate this version with a negative number, I would gladly do so. As it is, one star will have to do. Avoid this at all costs.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Texas Lawyer on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'd skip this and purchase the UNABRIDGED version. Some of the definitions left out in this version are among Bierce's best. Also, the complete work is not so long: no reason to abridge something that in full length is only 100 or so pages long.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M. Frimley on October 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bierce's misanthropy and glorious cynicism remain a breath of fresh air, never having lost their ring of truth for the better part of a century. His aversion for hypocrisy, formal education (He was of humble origins and self-educated), and religious self-righteousness are appropriately barbed. His disillusionment with concepts such as patriotism ("The first refuge of a scoundrel"), are particularly interesting, considering his rural midwestern upbringing and heroic service in the Civil War. The most consistent and I think interesting theme throughout this volume is his disdain for the institution of marriage. Long before marriage was seen by many as a burden and divorce became unstigmatized and commonplace, Bierce's definition seems prophetic for his time: "An institution consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all two."
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Eric Petersen on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce was a man of many distinctions - writer, journalist, humorist, and Civil War veteran. We all remember reading his classic story "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge" in eighth grade English class. Bierce is best known for his ghoulish horror tales, which were on a par with Edgar Allan Poe, but his greatest work was The Devil's Dictionary. A scathing parody of Webster's dictionary, Bierce's volume was a showcase for his brilliant, caustic wit. This is Bierce at his best, mixing comedy with social commentary, unleashing his anarchistic convictions to the hilt! Bierce blasts away at God and country and all that is respected and proper. He defines patriot as "the dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors", a Conservative as "a statesman who is enamored of existing evils" and a clergyman as "a man who undertakes the management of our spiritual affairs as a method of bettering his temporal ones" and so on. Nothing is sacred and no one is safe in this classic work of 19th century American literature which continues to attract just as much controversy and outrage today as it did when it was first published. A must read for all students of literature, dissenters, and fans of caustic humor!
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