84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious, Intelligent, Something to Share,
This review is from: The Devil's Dictionary (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
I first acquired this book about five years ago, after reading Bierce's fictional works. I could not put it down. You don't read this book sequentially, but rather it is a book to leaf through, stopping where you find a word that interests you. With the format of a dictionary, Bierce sets up the look and feel of the official word, which is what we expect from a dictionary. Then, reading the definitions, you at first think, "Bierce is being a wise guy." But after a few more definitions, you realize that Bierce is actually delivering a concise treatise on Western Culture by giving you a shot-by-shot commentary, using as his basis the essential element of any society -- its language. Birece may not have realized it when he wrote the book, but The Devil's Dictionary aligns with some 21st-century literary experimentations with concise presentation, irony, and non-linear exploration. Even reading it non-linearly, however, you soon find you've read every entry in the book. Then, of course, you'll want to start again...
My favorites are the definitions pertaining to religion.