The Ambrose Bierce Site



From the publisher, Bart Schneider:

I moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area three years ago and have been trying to figure out how to make print publications that are relevant locally, but also beyond, at a time when the whole publishing industry is rushing to establish their digital status. I decided that the way to make it work is to create beautifully designed, and edited small books. Kelly's Cove Press focuses on Northern California literature and art. All our covers feature reproductions of work by leading Northern California painters.

As for Ambrose Bierce, I believe that he's one of our greatest writers and that his work has retained its relevance. In the Bay Area, many people have heard of Bierce, but few have read him. He's a writer who was rarely edited or published well, so a stream-lined version of The Devil's Dictionary, without large hunks of doggerel and faux scholarship, liberates that book and gives new readers more access to what should be a popular and highly useable book, The Best of the Devil's Dictionary.

In my introduction to that edition,, I compare Bierce as a satirist to Lenny Bruce rather than Jonathan Swift. Bruce got busted in San Francisco for uttering honest Anglo-Saxon words--words that cry out for good Biercian definition--nearly 100 years after Bierce started knocking out his definitions in SF newspaper columns. An appendix to our edition, prints 350 words Bierce didn't get a chance to define and invites readers to contribute Biercian definitions at our website. It's fun to imagine Bierce defining words we bandy about like multitask and footprint, and I can imagine with enough interest, and the contributions of many, publishing a 21st Century Devil's Dictionary, filled with Biercian definitions.

Our other Bierce book this season is Civil War Stories, which publishes ten stories from Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, and his extraordinary essay, "What I Saw of Shiloh," all of which originally published in the SF Examiner.

Civil War Stories, in full color in a wide 8.5 by 9.5 format, is graced with reproductions from more than twenty paintings by master Sonoma realist Chester Arnold. Arnold's paintings have no direct relation to the Civil War but they share with Bierce a sense of the devastation and ruin men are capable of leaving behind.

In addition to the Bierce, we are publishing Kenneth Patchen: A Centennial Selection, which features poems and paintings by Patchen in a stunning edition. We are also publishing books by three contemporary Sonoma poets.

I'm a novelist who grew up in San Francisco. Spent 25 years in Minnesota where I raised a family and founded a couple of magazines, Hungry Mind Review, and Speakeasy. Edited magazines for 20 years, while writing novels. Published two with Viking, two more with Random House imprints and have a fifth coming out in March with Counterpoint.

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