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The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary Paperback – Unabridged, January 3, 2002


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The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary + The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce + The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; Unabridged edition (January 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820324019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820324012
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Can't read it in bed, kept waking the wife up laughing.
Larry Waldrep
See kwon- in Indo-European Roots.] Such are the real dictionary definitions of the stance which Ambrose Bierce adopted in considering the world.
Dan
For anyone who loves words and loves humor, this book should be mandatory reading.
Aggie's mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Dan on April 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
skep·tic also scep·tic (skptk)

n.

1.One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally

accepted conclusions.

2.One inclined to skepticism in religious matters.

3.Philosophy.

a.often Skeptic An adherent of a school of skepticism.

b.Skeptic A member of an ancient Greek school of skepticism, especially that of Pyrrho of

Elis (360?-272? B.C.).

[Latin Scepticus, disciple of Pyrrho of Elis, from Greek Skeptikos, from skeptesthai, to examine.

See spek- in Indo-European Roots.]

cyn·ic (snk)

n.

1.A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.

2.A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.

3.Cynic A member of a sect of ancient Greek philosophers who believed virtue to be the only

good and self-control to be the only means of achieving virtue.

[Latin cynicus, Cynic philosopher, from Greek kunikos, from kun, kun-, dog. See kwon- in

Indo-European Roots.]

Such are the real dictionary definitions of the stance which Ambrose Bierce adopted in considering the world. Beginning in 1881 and continuing to 1906, he 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.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Jennings on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If truth is beauty, and beauty truth, this is one good looking book. As an aspiring cynic, finding this book was akin to Ahab finding the whale. (I have no idea what that means). I don't think this book could be written today. Most of Bierce's definitions have become accepted fact. The book belongs in the library of everyone who believes Political Correctness is the beginning of the end of the world. Without the ability to communicate honestly, we are doomed. If you don't agree, you're just a bigoted fool. (see Bierce definitions). A great, funny, lucid book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Krol on October 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Still haven't found any real competitor for the Devils Dictionary.

Sheer honesty abounds. The insurance agent that came by my place rapidly deflated when I showed him the entry for "insurance" while (to his credit) acknowledged its veracity...

"an ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the man who keeps the table."

(followed by a vicious, fictitious and brilliant dialogue between an agent and perspective mark wherein said agent tries to overcome the mark's observation that by the agent's own actuarial tables a home owner without insurance would most likely save the full value of the house in premiums well before any loss... )

And that's just one of hundreds of essays. One of my intellectual heroes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By AmericanMe on December 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Also known as "The Cynic's Workbook" this collection is classic and belongs in any library. Ambrose Bierce, like Mark Twain and few other of his contempories, had a biting wit that always left a mark.
Here is just a taste of his humor.

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

Eulogy. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead.

Good good stuff.
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Format: Paperback
Ambrose Bierce is one of the lesser-known luminaries of American letters. He was Mark Twain's contemporary, and in his withering scorn for human hypocrisy - especially among Americans - he equaled and maybe even exceeded Twain. His greatest contribution to our literary heritage is his "Devil's Dictionary", the acerbic entries for which Bierce began creating as part of a weekly newspaper column in 1881. He continued to add definitions in a desultory fashion for most of the remainder of his career.

When Bierce went to work for William Randolph Hearst's newspaper empire, Hearst forced him to change the name of his occasional "The Devil's Dictionary" to "The Cynic's Dictionary". Bierce later explained: "They (the publishers) won't have 'The Devil's Dictionary.' Here in the East the Devil is a sacred personage (the Fourth Person of the Trinity, as an Irishman might say) and his name must not be taken in vain." Hence, Bierce first published a book-length collection in 1906 as "The Cynic's Word Book". He published another version as "The Devil's Dictionary" in 1911. Neither contained all the definitions that Bierce had published in one form or another over a span of more than three decades. In this fine book, THE UNABRIDGED DEVIL'S DICTIONARY, editors David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi set out to remedy that, collecting within the covers of a single library-worthy book ALL of Bierce's definitions.

There is a scholarly eighteen-page introduction that discusses Bierce's definition-mongering in enough detail to satisfy the inordinately curious. There follows the heart of the book: 235 pages of definitions, in alphabetical order. (To many of his definitions Bierce adds illustrative stories, doggerel verse, and random musings.
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