Ambrose Bierce. The Devil’s Cynic by Bruce Watson

By Bruce Watson

Once derided as a hopeless cynic, American writer Ambrose Bierce now enjoys an excellent literary attractiveness. Witty and sardonic, Bierce speaks to our personal scandal-ridden occasions. His savage Civil struggle tales became classics and his Devil's Dictionary is frequently quoted. during this short biography, Bruce Watson explores the sorrow in the back of the wit, and probes Bierce's mysterious disappearance a century in the past.

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Additional resources for Ambrose Bierce. The Devil’s Cynic

Sample text

The country, he said, was “a gone-mad democracy” moving toward socialism, women’s equality, and prohibition, and he wanted no part of it. Bierce broke with Hearst in 1908. He drifted between Washington and San Francisco, spending most of his time in the capital’s Army and Navy Club. He quarreled with old friends and grew indifferent to his future. ” Then a revolution broke out in Mexico, and he began to fashion one final story. “I’m going back to Washington and make preparations to leave,” he told his daughter, Helen.

Not much is known of his childhood. Critics have found only his parents’ staunch Calvinism as a source of his vitriol. Laura and Marcus Aurelius Bierce made daily prayer and Bible reading a fixture in their hardscrabble lives, instilling in Ambrose a lifelong hatred of organized religion and yet an unflinching Puritanism. Toward the end of his life, Bierce boasted that no woman had ever seen him naked. He was a Victorian gentleman in an age that shuddered at intimacy and found other worlds to conquer.

Bierce once offered to shake hands with Huntington. “I exact but one condition,” he added. “Mr. ” Huntington lobbied Congress. Bierce lobbied the public. The battle raged. When the two finally met on the steps of the Capitol, observers feared fisticuffs. Bierce stepped aside, but the bald tycoon cornered him. Every man has his price, Huntington said. How much would Bierce demand to cease and desist? Bierce said nothing. ” Huntington shouted. “My price,” Bierce boomed, “is 75 million dollars!

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