BIERCE, Ambrose (Ambrose Gwinett)


BIERCE, Ambrose (Ambrose Gwinett)
(1842-c1914)
   US journalist and writer of short stories and SATIRES, deeply affected by his experiences in the American Civil War (he was breveted major for bravery and wounded twice). Like Bret Harte (1836-1902), he went to California and became a journalist, and also like Harte he soon went abroad, spending 1872-6 in the UK, publishing several volumes of sketches as Dod Grile, most notably the savage little fables assembled as Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (coll dated 1874 but 1873 UK; vt Cobwebs: Being the Fables of Zambri, the Parsee c1873 UK); but afterwards - unlike Harte, who had permanently departed the thin cultural pickings there - he returned to California. At the close of 1913, after a hectic career and some notably intemperate journalism, he disappeared into Mexico, then in the middle of its own civil war. He is perhaps best known for The Cynic's Word Book (coll 1906; vt The Devil's Dictionary 1911; exp vt The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary 1967), a collection of brilliantly cynical word "definitions". His numerous sketches and stories far more closely approach the canons of FANTASY than of sf, though, like Mark TWAIN's similar efforts, the speculative environment they create is often sufficiently displaced to encourage the interest of sf readers. AB's single most famous tale, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", in which a condemned spy believes he has escaped the rope and returned to his wife the instant after his fall from the bridge and before the noose tightens, appears in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (coll 1891; vt In the Midst of Life 1892 UK; exp under first title 1898 US). The early ROBOT story "Moxon's Master", perhaps the closest thing to genuine sf he ever wrote, in which a SCIENTIST's death is apparently caused by a chess-playing automaton, appears in Can Such Things Be? (coll 1893). The same volume contains the notable story of monstrous INVISIBILITY, "The Damned Thing", which offers a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, and "Charles Ashmore's Trail", the story of a man who vanishes, much as AB seemed to do himself, into another DIMENSION. This and such similar volumes as Fantastic Fables (coll 1899) have since been republished in a number of forms. The Collected Writings of Ambrose Bierce (coll 1946) is valuable, though not complete; Ghost and Horror Stories of Ambrose Bierce (coll 1964, ed Everett F. BLEILER) is probably the best single assemblage of his works of interest to the reader of sf or fantasy. The Collected Short Stories (coll 1970) and The Devil's Advocate: An Ambrose Bierce Reader (coll 1987) are also of value.
   JC/PN
   Other works: The Fiend's Delight (coll 1873 UK) and Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California (coll 1873 UK), both as Dod Grile.
   About the author: Ambrose Bierce, the Devil's Lexicographer (1951) by Paul Fatout; Ambrose Bierce (1970) by M.C. Grenander.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ambrose Bierce — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ambrose Bierce (por J. H. E. Partington, fecha desconocida) Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (Ohio, Estados Unidos, 24 de junio de 1842 – ¿1914?) fue un escritor, periodista y editor …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bierce,Ambrose Gwinett — Bierce (bîrs), Ambrose Gwinett. 1842 1914?. American writer whose works, including In the Midst of Life (1891 1892) and The Devil s Dictionary (1906), are marked by caustic wit and a strong sense of horror. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bierce — [birs] Ambrose (Gwinett) 1842 1914?; U.S. satirical writer …   English World dictionary

  • Bierce —   [bɪəs], Ambrose Gwinett, amerikanischer Schriftsteller, * Meigs County (Ohio) 24. 6. 1842, ✝ (verschollen) in Mexiko 1914; als »bitter Bierce« für seine zynisch witzigen Satiren bekannter und einflussreicher Journalist in San Francisco, London… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ambrose Bierce — noun United States writer of caustic wit (1842 1914) • Syn: ↑Bierce, ↑Ambrose Gwinett Bierce • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * Ambrose Bierce [ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Bierce — noun United States writer of caustic wit (1842 1914) • Syn: ↑Ambrose Bierce, ↑Ambrose Gwinett Bierce • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author * * * /bears/, n. Ambrose (Gwinnett) /gwi net /, 1842 1914?, U.S. j …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ambrose Gwinett Bierce — noun United States writer of caustic wit (1842 1914) • Syn: ↑Bierce, ↑Ambrose Bierce • Instance Hypernyms: ↑writer, ↑author …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ambrose Bierce — El periodista y escritor norteamericano Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (24 de junio de 1842 1914?) nació en Horse Cave Creek, en el condado de Meigs (Ohio). Sus padres, Marcus Aurelius y Laura, granjeros de honda fe calvinista, tuvieron trece hijos, y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bierce — /bɪəs/ (say bears) noun Ambrose Gwinett, 1842–1914?, US author and journalist …   Australian English dictionary

  • БИРС Амброз — БИРС, АМБРОЗ ГУИНЕТТ (Bierce, Ambrose Gwinett) АМБРОЗ ГУИНЕТТ БИРС (1842 ок. 1914), американский писатель сатирик. В своих мрачных, пессимистических рассказах (Случай на мосту через Совиный ручей An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, Чикамога… …   Энциклопедия Кольера

  • Liste d'athées célèbres (philosophes et penseurs) — Article principal : Liste d athées célèbres. Cet article contient une liste d athées qui étaient des philosophes ou des penseurs célèbres. Les athées sont des personnes qui ne conçoivent pas l’existence ou affirment l’inexistence des dieux… …   Wikipédia en Français


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