An Ambrose Bierce Companion
For years I had been looking forward to a meeting with the author of Tales of Soldiers and Civilians , with whom a few years before I had exchanged letters. He was one of the highest peaks in my whole mountain range of literary idols, and the prospect of meeting him in Washington had helped to make my assignment exciting.
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Something about my breathless inquiry and my obvious disappointment must have touched the secretary, for she invited me to call. Starrett did call upon Christiansen only to learn that Bierce had vanished in Mexico the year before.
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Nearing his seventy-first birthday and afflicted with asthma, the remarkable old man had suddenly decided to visit Mexico during the winter of , hoping to meet the revolutionary leader Francisco Villa, whom he admired. Several letters had been received by his daughter Helen shortly after his arrival in the southern republic. It appeared that he had joined a division of Villa's army, and mention was made of a prospective advance on Ojinaga. And that was all; the rest was silence.source
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To me, it was a more important matter than the war in Europe and I lost no time in putting it on the wire. My short dispatch, which appeared on the first page of the Daily News next day, was a clean news beat, but it did not ally the disappointment I felt at missing Ambrose Bierce. Thereafter I saw Miss Christiansen a number of times, and we corresponded almost to the day of her death. For the rest of my stay in Washington, needless to say, I bothered the departments of War and State almost daily for tidings of Bierce, thus keeping the search for him alive as far as possible; but nothing came of it except new rumors, new falsehoods, and new disappointments.
Joshi and David E. What of it? If he did work I thought unworthy, was our friendship to prevent my saying so? Because he became my friend, was I to call all his geese swans?
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce: An Analysis Essay
The thing is too ridiculous. I would not mention it, did I know the petty misdemeanors of our critical crew, the littleness of their minds, which cannot fancy in others the virtues they themselves lack. The intellectual Bierce was always on the offensive; always ready to express himself in brilliant brevities. But the Bierce who wrote of the mysteries and the thrills of individual experience was receptive, deliberate, and deliberative, ready to surrender to a mood in a wise passiveness; willing to court in the shadows the shy thought that would not come out into the sunlight.
His life was a long sequence of bitter ironies. I believe that he enjoyed it. Hill, a seller of rare books in Chicago, in an edition of copies. Morrow and Josephine McCracken. The present appraisal, at least is not fortuitous, and its stated facts have the merits of sobriety and authority. He set the pace for the throng of satirical fabulists who have since written; and his essays His influence on the writers of his time, while unacknowledged, is wide. Rarely did he attempt anything sustained; his work is composed of keen, darting fragments. But who shall complain, when his fragments are so perfect?
Incredibly, three lesser biographies of Bierce were published that same year, some ill informed by C. The scholar S. I hope to write it one day. The Letters of Ambrose Bierce was issued in December of that year in a printing of copies. While hardly complete, the letters span the period between July 31, , and November 6, There is also an addendum with undated extracts. Bierce is of the immortals.
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Bertha Clark Pope , editor of the Bierce volume, was employed by the Book of California as a secretary. Born in Connecticut and a graduate of Brown, she is better known as Bertha Damon, the name of her second husband.
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She achieved some celebrity for a memoir, Grandma Called it Carnal , published in Because of Bierce's concern with so many issues of his day, the volume offers a valuable perspective on American culture during the time in which he lived. Ambrose Bierce is one of America's best satirists, though his Juvenalian bent leaves him much less popular than figures like Mark Twain or Ring Lardner. Gale emeritus, English, Univ. Here he covers "90 percent of Bierce's really valuable publications" short stories, poems, essays, etc. There is some commentary and interpretation such as a defense against the charge that Bierce was anti-Semitic , but most of these alphabetical entries are simply summaries of the plots of stories and poems and themes of essays.
Many entries include short bibliographies, and there is also a general bibliography, a chronology of Bierce's life, and an interesting preface. Deeper critical analysis would have improved this compilation, but libraries with good American literature collections should definitely purchase it, despite its high price. Peter Dollard, Alma Coll. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Greenwood, Condition: New. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Seller Inventory P More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Condition: New.
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