100 Years of Bierceitude

Ambrose Bierce, posing with an erstwhile critic

It was one hundred years ago today... or maybe yesterday. Or it could have been one hundred years ago two months from now. The point is that roughly a century ago, after leaving Washington D.C. at age 71 to join Pancho Villa's army and making it as far as at least Chihuahua, American author Ambrose Bierce disappeared.

Bierce is known to high school students across the country as the author of the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," its Shyamalanian twist blowing young minds from coast to coast. He was also the author of the brilliantly satirical Devil's Dictionary, which has the following definition for the word dictionary: "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."

The author of over a dozen collections of short novels, poetry, stories, essays, and aphorisms that show his mastery in a variety of genres, Bierce's acerbic wit and deft prose remain as sharp and hilarious now as they were a century ago. For those not yet initiated or only marginally initiated into the work of old "Bitter Bierce," attend to the following list with foolhardy abandon:

Comments

I can't read my own book when my husband is reading "The Devil's Dictionary" because he keeps interrupting me to tell me definitions.

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