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The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary Paperback – December 14, 2009
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bierce took no prisoners; the book is both politically incorrect and timeless. This is not a contradiction in terms. It is as relevant now as it was a hundred years ago, and will remain relevant and funny for centuries to come, because human character doesn't change on such small time scales. By the standards Bierce sets to intelligent humor and satire, Mark Twain is a bumbling schoolboy and whoever spawned South Park is an aspiring amoeba.
In a different country, The Devil's Dictionary would be taught in school and university, and the author would have streets and landmarks named after him. (I know, because I'm from such a country, and we have a Bierce equivalent who lived in the same period and is now considered a classic.) The reason why "The Devil's Dictionary" is virtually unknown, ignored in the classroom, and excluded from the list of American classics is that the US is such a God-fearing country. There are two obstacles to this book being afforded its rightful place among the best in American lit: the devil in the title and the atheism of the author. (One can only guess what Bierce would have written after putting together the Biblical story of Jesus throwing the businessmen out of the temple and the decision to inscribe "In God We Trust" on American money, for example. Ambrose, we need you so badly!)