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The Devil's Dictionaryby Ambrose Bierce
Synopses & Reviews
The Devil's Dictionary is an American classic. A Yankee Oscar Wilde with a wicked edge to his tongue, gained from seeing the world early as it really was, Ambrose Bierce's verbal wit is perfectly complemented by Ralph Steadman's equally incisive pen. With a Foreword by Angus Calder.
Adore, v. To venerate expectantly.
Bride, n. A woman with a great future behind her
Corporation, n. An ingenious device for securing individual profit without individual responsibility.
Debauchee, n. One who has so earnestly pursued pleasure that he has had the misfortune to overtake it.
"An attractive new edition...the text is accompanied by Ralph Steadman's typically bloodthirsty cartoons. The corrosive insights of Ambrose Bierce seem as bitter and fresh as ever. He handles words with delicious precision." The Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year (London)
"[An] enjoyable abridgment....Bierce's 700 definitions are just as humorous, witty, and satiric today as they were then....Illustrations by satiric cartoonist Steadman complement the text..." Library Journal
"Forget the Summer of Love. Bierce is the real voice of San Francisco — mordant, worldly, skeptical, and witty." Dana Gioia, The Hungry Mind Review
First published as The Cynic's Word Book (1906) and later reissued under its preferred name in 1911, Bierce's notorious collection of barbed definitions forcibly contradicts Samuel Johnson's earlier definition of a lexicographer as a harmless drudge.
History, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.
Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all two.
Self-Esteem, n. An erroneous appraisement.
These caustic aphorisms, collected in The Devil's Dictionary, helped earn reporter Ambrose Bierce the epithet's Bitter Bierce, the Devil's Lexicographer, and the Wickedest Man in San Francisco. First published as The Cynic's Word Book (1906) and later reissued under its preferred title in 1911, Bierce's notorious collection of barbed definitions forcibly contradicts Samuel Johnson's earlier definition of a lexicographer as a harmless drudge.
Bierce's classic work of satirical wit and Steadman's pointed pen redefine the way we see even the seemingly simplest of terms.
Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from but not well enough to lend to.
Bride, n.: A woman with a great future behind her.
Consult, v: To seek another's approval of a course already decided on.
Ambrose Bierce's "dictionary" of epigrams, essays, verses, and vignettes targets the religious, the romantic, the political, and the economic, in equal measure. The book you need to define both friends and enemies, The Devil's Dictionary is also the perfect gift, showcasing Bierce's razor-sharp wit and Ralph Steadman's incisive pen to their best advantage.
About the Author
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), friend and rival of Mark Twain, was one of nineteenth-century America's most renowned satirists. A Union veteran of the Civil War, he became one of the best-known writers and journalists in the country. In 1913 he set off for Mexico, then in the throes of revolution, and was never seen again.
Ralph Steadman, artist, writer, sculptor, political cartoonist, and designer of labels for vintage wines, is the author/illustrator of, most recently, the novel Doodaaa, as well as the illustrator of Lewis Carroll's Alice, George Orwell's Animal Farm, and Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. His work appears regularly in such publications as the New Yorker, the New York Times, GQ, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times.
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