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The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary [Kindle Edition]

Ambrose Bierce , S. T. Joshi , David Schultz , David E. Schultz
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If we could only put aside our civil pose and say what we really thought, the world would be a lot like the one alluded to in The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. There, a bore is “a person who talks when you wish him to listen,” and happiness is “an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.” This is the most comprehensive, authoritative edition ever of Ambrose Bierce’s satiric masterpiece. It renders obsolete all other versions that have appeared in the book’s ninety-year history.

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 Bierce targets just about any pursuit, from matrimony to immortality, that allows our willful failings and excesses to shine forth.

This new edition is based on David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi’s exhaustive investigation into the book’s writing and publishing history. All of Bierce’s known satiric definitions are here, including previously uncollected, unpublished, and alternative entries. Definitions dropped from previous editions have been restored while nearly two hundred wrongly attributed to Bierce have been excised. For dedicated Bierce readers, an introduction and notes are also included.

Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary is a classic that stands alongside the best work of satirists such as Twain, Mencken, and Thurber. This unabridged edition will be celebrated by humor fans and word lovers everywhere.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bierce was America's first realist writer, but, unlike realism's later practitioners, he knew something about reality—it's really funny."--P.J. O'Rourke


"This carefully edited manuscript will add immeasurably to Bierce studies."--Joseph B. McCullough, University of Nevada-Las Vegas


"This is a work of genuinely impressive scholarship and will undoubtedly become the authoritative text for Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary."--Thomas V. Quirk, University of Missouri-Columbia


"Splendidly produced."--London Times Literary Supplement


"Most readers and biographers have agreed with Schultz and Joshi that The Devil's Dictionary is 'quintessential Bierce.' For the serious student of Bierce's diabolical lexicon, their beautiful new edition . . . will be a delight."--Sewanee Review


“A compilation of all of Bierce's satirical definitions published over a forty-year period, this latest version of the Dictionary ('A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic') merits a wide readership both within and without the Academy ('A modern school where football is taught').”--American Literary Review

About the Author

Ambrose Bierce (1842 -1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical dictionary, The Devil's Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work - along with his vehemence as a critic - earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce". Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often includes a cold open, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3486 KB
  • Print Length: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; Unabridged edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005F6A6H6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,351 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
(6)
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Satire on Society June 22, 2000
Format:Hardcover
Ambrose Bierce, in this hilarious book, satirizes all aspects of human behavior. This lexicon that he has created provides often true insight in to the tacit meanings of otherwise benign words. For example, PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. This book is a must-get.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious but also disturbing December 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
it's unbelievable how poignant this book stiil is. I think there are two reasons for its longevity: the author was really smart and we are still really silly :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A most accurate guide to human affairs in general September 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even after the end of the Industrial Revolution, two world wars, the rise of computers & the technology associated with them, the terrorist strikes on 9-11, 7-7, etc., The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary still holds much truth in its definitions. Bierce, being the unalloyed cynic that he was, not only was aware of the high standards of conduct that humanity could hypothetically achieve (& which he relentlessly upheld himself) but also how consistently people fail in their efforts--or, more commonly, don't even try. As a guide to the human condition, Bierce's dictionary is unmatched. There have been several imitations of his dictionary, but none have equalled it thus far. It should be required reading for every 6th-grade student in the United States.
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