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Ambrose Bierce (Ambrose Gwinett Bierce) Biography

(1842–1914?), (Ambrose Gwinett Bierce), Nuggets and Dust Panned out in California, The Fiend's Delight

civil retitled devil life

American journalist, born in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio. He fought in the Civil War, and after extensive travels in America, moved to San Francisco and became a columnist for numerous magazines and newspapers. He travelled to England in 1872, where he wrote under the pseudonym ‘Dod Grile’, and published three compilations of his witty sketches: Nuggets and Dust Panned out in California (1873), The Fiend's Delight (1873), and Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (1874). On his return to San Francisco in 1877 he wrote for Hearst's Examiner, becoming the most provocative writing force on the West Coast, his frequent vitriol earning him the nickname ‘Bitter Bierce’. His Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1891; retitled In the Midst of Life, 1892), widely acclaimed for such short stories of the American Civil War as ‘Chickamauga’ and ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’, and his further collection Can Such Things Be? (1893), established him as a writer of sardonic humour, aptly contrasting images of horror and beauty, and a master of the unexpected ending. His subsequent works included the The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter (1892), a medieval romance; Fantastic Fables (1899); Shapes of Clay (1903), satiric verse; and Collected Works (12 volumes; 190912). The Cynic's Word Book (1906), later retitled The Devil's Dictionary (1911), is a compendium of cynical and witty definitions attacking politicians, materialistic values, and bourgeois life. The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary, edited by E. J. Hopkin, appeared in 1967. In 1913 Bierce travelled into revolutionary Mexico, where he mysteriously vanished.

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