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Ambrose Bierce


American writer

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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce ( Horse Cave Creek , 24 June 1842 - Chihuahua , 11 January 1914 [1] ) was a writer , journalist and aphorist U.S. , one of the most caustic of San Francisco at the turn of 1850 and the early years of the twentieth century .

Born to a large family (he was the tenth child), Bierce led a life often to the limits, but not the vices, but for its sarcasm that eventually earned him the nickname of bitter , bitter. At fifteen, tired of the poverty of his family, he left home beginning to turn to the United States and living by their wits until an uncle, Lucius, the younger brother of his father, took him under his wing. Lucius Bierce had made ​​his fortune by becoming a decent lawyer and mayor of the city of Akron . His uncle did attend the Kentucky Military Institute, where he learned, among other things, mapping , which allowed him to enlist in 1861 as a volunteer in the army with duties of surveyors.

These were the years of the Civil War , which Bierce lived in the first person and that gave rise to Tales of Soldiers and Civilians , or "Tales of soldiers and civilians," a sample of the horrors of war in which the vision ruthless and contemptuous of men, no excluded, gives a sense of proportion of Bierce. Here emerged a another aspect of Bierce: the randomness of events and the existence of the supernatural, the fantastic, which plunges into reality. From this sprang also good stories macabre and horror, always imbued with cynicism.

At 24 years old Bierce, tired of that life, he left the army and arrived in San Francisco, where he began his career as a journalist and writer. Living initially odd jobs, he began to write and to be quoted for his attacks on politicians, crooks, entrepreneurs, so that according to the chronicles of the time, he used to carry a gun with him when he was around. In 1871 he married a rich and beautiful girl, and with his father in law, took a long honeymoon in London , where he tried to publish, with little success, his works. In 1904 he divorced his wife had given him three children, two of whom died tragically.

The death of the writer is one of the great enigmas of American literature: in 1913 (71 years), he left as a reporter for the Mexico torn by civil war of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata , and disappeared mysteriously during the Battle of Ojinaga, l ' January 11, 1914.

Bierce owes his fortune as a writer mainly to his " Devil's Dictionary ", but in fact, his work goes far beyond, starting right from the journalist who saw his consecration in the ' Examiner , one of the newspapers that made ​​the fortune of William Randolph Hearst , the newspaper magnate.

His short stories are considered among the best in the nineteenth century , especially those of war as An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ( It Happened at Owl Creek Bridge , whose main character is a soldier about to be hanged at the bridge referred to in the title) , Killed at Resaca , and Chickamauga . Bierce was considered a master of style and language of his contemporaries in all the genres in which he took the risk, by the aforementioned war stories to ghost stories, poems. Its fantastic tales of the grotesque style anticipated that it would become a real literary genre in the twentieth century .

The twelve volumes of the complete works of Bierce, of which the seventh volume was entirely made ​​up of Dictionary of the devil , were published between 1909 and 1912 .

The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce , 12 volumes, 1909-1912


The Haunted Valley , 1871 ( The Valley of the Spirits )
A Providential Intimation , 1874 [first publication: The Tale of a Coat ] ( providential intimation )
A Shipwreckollection , 1874 [first publication: Cruise of the 'Mudlark' ]
Corrupting the Press , 1874
Curried Cow , 1874 ( The cow groomed )
Mr. Masthead, journalist , 1874 ( Mr. Masthead, Journalist )
Mr. Swiddler's flip-flap , 1874 ( The somersault of Mr. Swiddler )
Perry's Chumly eclipse , 1874 ( The eclipse of Perry Chumly )
The baptism of Dobsho , 1874 [first publication: A Sinful Freak ] ( The baptism of Dobsho )
The failure of Hope and Wandel , 1874 [first publication: Cool Correspondence ] ( Failure of Hope & Wandel )
The little story , 1874 ( Short story )
The night-doings at 'Deadman's' , 1874 ( Events at Night in the Canyon of the Dead )
The Race at Left Bower , 1874 ( The race of the Left Bower )
Why I am not editing 'The Stinger' , 1874 [first publication: Why I am not editing the 'Cowville Saturday Stinger' ]
The captain of the 'Camel' , 1875 [first publication: A Nautical Novelty ]
The man overboard , 1876 [first publication: Some unusual adventures ]
The famous Gilson bequest , 1878 ( The famous legacy Gilson )
A psychological shipwreck , 1879 ( A psychological shipwreck )
A holy terror , 1882 ( Holy Terror )
A Cargo of Cat , 1885
Jupiter Doke, Brigadier-general , 1885 ( Jupiter Doke, Brigadier General )
A revolt of the gods , 1886 [first publication: The Ancient City of Grimaulquin: A Record of Industrial Discontent ] ( The revolt of the gods )
An Imperfect Conflagration , 1886 [first publication: The Imperfect Conflagration ] ( Conflagration imperfect )
An inhabitant of Carcosa , 1886 ( A citizen of Carcosa )
'The Bubble Reputation' , 1886
Killed at Resaca , 1887 ( Killed at Resaca )
The man out of the nose , 1887 [first publication: John Hardshaw: The Story of a Man ​​Who May Be Seen Coming out of the Nose ] ( Man out of his nose )
A bottomless grave , 1888 ( Grave bottomless )
A cold greeting , 1888 ( Greetings cold )
A fruitless assignment , 1888 ( A fruitless task )
A son of the gods , 1888 ( A child of the gods )
A tough tussle , 1888 ( A violent combat )
An unfinished race , 1888 ( A race is not finished )
Charles Ashmore's Trail , 1888 ( The trace of Charles Ashmore )
My favorite murder , 1888 ( My favorite crime )
One of the missing , 1888 ( One of the missing )
One of twins , 1888 ( Twins )
Present at a hanging , 1888 ( Spectator of a hanging )
The city of the gone away , 1888 [first publication: The Gone Away: A Tale of Medical Science and Commercial Thrift ] ( The City of the Dead )
The Crime at Pickett's Mill , 1888
The difficulty of crossing a field , 1888 ( The difficulty of crossing a field )
The Isle of Pines , 1888 ( The Isle of Pines )
A horseman in the sky , 1889 [first publication: The horseman in the sky ] ( A horseman in the sky )
A watcher by the dead , 1889 ( Waking the dead )
Chickamauga , 1889 ( Chickamauga )
One officer, one man , 1889 ( An officer, a man )
The Affair at Coulter's Notch , 1889 ( It Happened at the throat of Coulter )
The coup de grâce , 1889 ( The coup de grace )
The spook house , 1889 ( The House of the spectrum )
The suitable surrounding , 1889 ( The fitting )
An occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge , 1890 ( Done happened at the bridge sull'Owl Creek )
Oil of Dog , 1890 [first publication: The Oil of a Dog: A tragic episode in the life of an eminent educator ] ( oil dog )
The Major's tale , 1890 [first publication: A practical joke: Major Broadwood Recalls the heroic past ] ( The story of the head of a battalion )
The man and the snake , 1890 ( The man and the serpent )
The middle toe of the right foot , 1890 ( The middle finger of the right foot )
The realm of the unreal , 1890 ( The realm of the unreal )
The story of a conscience , 1890 ( The story of a conscience )
A baby tramp , 1891 ( A Little Tramp )
A Lady from Redhorse , 1891 (first publication: An Heiress from Redhorse ] ( A lady Redhorse )
Haita the shepherd , 1891 ( Haita the pastor )
Parker Adderson, philosopher , 1891 ( Parker Adderson, philosopher )
The boarded window , 1891 ( The barred window )
The Death of Halpin Frayser , 1891 ( The Death of Halpin Frayser )
The ingenious patriot , 1891 ( The Patriot naive )
Bird song , 1891 ( The song of the thrush or of sentinel )
The monk and the hangman's daughter , 1891 ( The Monaco and the daughter of the Executioner ) [Bierce revision of a translation from German into English, the story Der von Berchtesgaden mönch of Richard Voss , edited by the writer of Central European origin Gustav Adolf Danziger , also known as Adolphe De Castro. The intervention of Bierce, personally asked by Danziger, was approved by Voss. After the first publication in serial form of periodical, in 1892, followed by the publication in volume)
The secret of Macarger's Gulch , 1891 ( The secret of the ravine Macarger )
The Thing at Nolan , 1891 ( An episode happened to Nolan )
The widower Turmore , 1891 ( The widower Turmore )
An adventure in Brownville , 1892 [first publication: An occurrence at Brownville ] ( An adventure in Brownville ) [in collaboration with Ina Lillian Peterson ]
The applicant , 1892 ( The hood )
A jug of sirup , 1893 ( a jug of syrup )
Bodies of the dead , 1893 ( The bodies of the dead )
George Thurston , 1883 ( George Thurston )
One kind of officer , 1893 ( A kind of officer )
A summer night 1893 ( One summer night or in a cemetery )
The damned thing , 1893 ( The damn thing )
The hypnotist , 1893 [first publication: John Bolger, hypnotist ] ( the hypnotist )
John Bartine's watch , 1893 ( The clock of John Bartine )
An affair of outposts , 1897 ( An affair of outposts )
The Eyes of the Panther , 1897 ( The eyes of the panther )
Moxon's Master , 1899 ( The creature Moxon )
Revenge , 1899 ( Revenge )
The tail of the sphinx , 1899 ( The tail of the sphinx )
A diagnosis of death , 1901 [first publication: The diagnosis of death ] ( A diagnosis of death )
At Old Man Eckert's , 1901 ( From the old Eckert )
An arrest , 1905 ( One stop )
A wireless message , 1905 ( A wireless message )
A vine on a house , 1905 ( The vine on the house )
A man with two lives , 1905 ( A man with two lives )
Baffled ambuscade , 1906 ( ambush useless )
Mortonson John's funeral , 1906 ( The funeral of John Mortonson )
Stanley Fleming's hallucination , 1906 ( The hallucination of Stanley Fleming )
Two Military Executions , 1906 ( Two military executions )
Beyond the wall , 1907 ( Beyond the Wall )
The moonlit road , 1907 ( The moonlit road )
The other lodgers ", 1907 ( The other boarders )
Three and one are one , 1908 ( three plus one )
A Resumed Identity , 1908 [first publication: The Man ] ( Return identity )
The stranger , 1909 [first publication: A stranger ] ( The Stranger )
The time the moon fought back , 1911
Battle ( Battle )

Main issues in volume

The Dance of Death , 1877 [satirical work, based on the waltz, written in collaboration with William Herman Rulofson and Thomas Arundel Harcourt ]
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians , 1891 [collection of short stories. Published the following year in the UK under the title In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians ]
Can Such Things Be? , 1893 [collection of stories]
In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians , 1898 [revised and expanded edition than that of 1891]
Fantastic Fables , 1899 ( Fables clockwork ) [collection of tales of moral bitter]
The Shadow on the Dial and Other Essays , 1909 [collection of 19 essays, edited by Silas Orrin Howes , whether the activity journalistic Bierce]
The Devil's Dictionary , 1911 ( Devil's Dictionary ) [collection of humorous definitions, anecdotes, aphorisms, inspired mainly acre. Partially published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book , Title disapproved by Bierce]


Education: That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. -- Ambrose Bierce

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