Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (born June 24, 1842; assumed to have died sometime after December 26, 1913 ) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. He wrote the short story " An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge " and compiled a satirical lexicon The Devil's Dictionary. His vehemence as a critic, his motto "Nothing matters", and the sardonic view of human nature that informed his work, all earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce".
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842–1914?) was an American satirist, critic, poet, short story (horror) writer, editor, and journalist.
A portrait of Ambrose Bierce, date unknown.His clear unsentimental style has kept him popular when many of his contemporaries have become obscure. His dark, sardonic views and vehemence as a critic, earned him the nickname Bitter Bierce. Such was Bierce's venerable reputation, that it was said that his judgment on any contemporary fiction of the day could make or break a writer's career.
His short stories are considered among the best of the 19th century. He wrote realistically of the terrible things he had seen in the war in such stories as "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", "Killed at Resaca", and "Chickamauga".
Bierce was reckoned a master of "pure" English by his contemporaries, and virtually everything that came from his pen was notable for its judicious wording and economy of style. He wrote skillfully in a variety of literary genres, and in addition to his celebrated ghost and war stories he published several volumes of poetry and verse. His Fantastic Fables anticipated the ironic style of grotesquerie that turned into a genre in the 20th century.
One of Bierce's most famous works is his much-quoted book, The Devil's Dictionary, originally a newspaper serialization which was first published in book form in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book. It offers an interesting reinterpretation of the English language in which cant and political double-talk are neatly lampooned.
Bierce's twelve-volume Collected Works were published in 1909, the seventh volume of which consists solely of The Devil's Dictionary, the title Bierce himself preferred to The Cynic's Word Book.