Ambrose (Gwinnett) Bierce
(1842-1914?)
Quick Overview

He was born on June 24, 1842, at Meigs county, Ohio, U.S. and died. in 1914, probably somewhere in  Mexico.  He was an American newspaperman, wit, satirist, and author of sardonic short  stories based on themes of death and horror, whose life ended in an unsolved mystery.

"Bierce, Ambrose (Gwinnett)" Britannica Online.
<http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=micro/68/44.html>
[Accessed 31 January 1998]. 



His Life

Links

His Work

"NOVEL n. A short story padded."  Taken from Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society

 

Links
 


Bierce's Works Online: Taken from Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society
Related Internet Links This link was recommended by Britannica
His Life
 
Ambrose Bierce was reared in Kosciusko county, Ind., Bierce became printer's devil on a Warsaw, Ind., paper after about a year in high school. In 1861 he enlisted in the 9th Indiana Volunteers and fought in a number of American Civil War battles, including Shiloh and Chickamauga. Seriously wounded on Kenesaw Mountain in 1864, he served until January 1865; he received a merit promotion to major in 1867.

In San Francisco, which was experiencing an artistic renaissance, he began contributing to periodicals, particularly the News Letter, of which he became editor in 1868. Bierce was soon the literary arbiter of the West Coast. "The Haunted Valley" (1871) was his first story. In December 1871 he married Mary Ellen Day, and from 1872 to 1875 the Bierces lived in England, where he wrote for the London magazines Fun and Figaro, edited the Lantern for the exiled French empress Eugénie,  and published three books, The Fiend's Delight and Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California (both 1872) and Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (1874).
 
In 1877 he became associate editor of the San Francisco Argonaut but left it in 1879-80 for an unsuccessful try at placer mining in Rockerville in the Dakota Territory. Thereafter he was editor of the San Francisco Wasp for five years. In 1887 he joined the staff of William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, for which he wrote the "Prattler" column. In 1896 Bierce moved to Washington, D.C., where he continued newspaper and magazine writing. In 1913, tired of American life, he went to Mexico, then in the middle of a revolution led by Pancho Villa. His end is a mystery, but a reasonable conjecture is that he was killed in the siege of Ojinaga in January 1914.
 
Bierce separated from his wife, lost his two sons, and broke many friendships. As a newspaper columnist, he specialized in critical attacks on amateur poets, clergymen, bores, dishonest politicians, money grabbers, pretenders, and frauds of all sorts. His principal books are In the Midst of Life (1891), which included some of his finest stories, such as "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "A Horseman in the Sky," "The Eyes of the Panther," and "The Boarded Window"; Can Such Things Be? (1893), which included "The Damned Thing" and "Moxon's Master"; and The Devil's Dictionary (1906), a volume of ironic definitions, which has been often reprinted. His Collected Works was published in 12 volumes, 1909-12. The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary, edited by E.J. Hopkins, appeared in 1967.

"Bierce, Ambrose (Gwinnett)" Britannica Online.
<http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=micro/68/44.html> 
[Accessed 31 January 1998].