Ambrose Bierce Resources



Ambrose Bierce
On the Web

AMBROSE BIERCE: He never owned a horse, a carriage, or a car. He never owned his own home. He rented. He was mobile. So mobile that he rode, with all of his possessions, on a leased horse into the Mexican desert to join Pancho Villa -- and vanished. Once, Bierce's employer, William Randolph Hearst -- after bragging about his own acquisitions of statuary, art, books, tapestries -- asked Bierce what he collected. Bierce said, "I collect words. And ideas. Like you, I also store them. But in the reservoir of my mind. I can take them out and display them at a moment's notice. Eminently portable, Mr. Hearst. And I don't find it necessary to show them all at the same time." From The Assassination of Ambrose Bierce: A Love Story by Don Swaim, Hippocampus Press, New York

painting of Bierce by J.H.E. Partington, Library of Congress
Click to enlarge.

Chronology of the Life and Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce

AMBROSE BIERCE: He began his The Devil's Dictionary as a half-page column in the San Franciscio Wasp in 1881 -- beginning with the letter "P" -- and added to it in weekly installments, Doubleday published the dictionary as The Cynic's Word Book in 1906, although the definitions only ran through half the alphabet, A-L. In 1911 Bierce added the second half, M-Z, in Volume 7 of his Collected Works, this time completing the alphabet. Since then the book has been through dozens of printings by various publishers, and since the text is in the public domain, the dictionary can easily be found on the Internet. Below are several web versions, some better than others, and some searchable.

Works by Bierce on Line
  • Project Gutenberg Collection of nineteen books either written by or contributed to by Bierce, including his first, The Fiend's Delight (1872)
  • Devil's Dictionary new site, nicely done by Mike Leung
  • Devil's Dictionary from Alcone Systems
  • Devil's Dictionary from Malacandra. Searchable
  • Devil's Dictionary from International Wiretap
  • Devil's Dictionary from
  • Devil's Dictionary from Searchable
  • Devil's Dictionary from Berkeley Digital Library
  • Devil's Dictionary from The Literature Network
  • Can Such Things Be? A collection of mostly supernatural tales, originally published in 1893, made available here by The Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.
  • Selected Ghost Stories by Ambrose Bierce
  • Fantastic Fables (Gutenberg Project Edition)
  • Fantastic Fables 1899 Edition
  • Fantastic Fables (Universal Library Edition)
  • A Collection of Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce at Classic Reader
  • Bibliomania, another site with a solid collection of Civil War stories by Ambrose Bierce
  • A Horseman in the Sky
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Excellent presentation with art, analysis, and annotations. Part of The Literature of the Civil War Project of Middletown High School, Middletown, Delaware. Proves that excellence is not solely the domain of scholars and academics.
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (annotated)
  • The Affair at Coulter's Notch
  • ChickamaugaClassic Civil War story
  • A Little of Chickamauga (non-fiction from his "Bits of Biography")
  • A Shadow on the Dial
  • Moxon's Master
  • Inhabitant of Carcosa
  • My Favorite Murder
  • The Moonlit Road  (originally in Can Such Things Be?
  • Killed at Resaca
  • Haita the Shepherd
  • Four Tall Tales
  • The Damned Thing
  • One of the Twins
  • The Boarded Window
  • The Eyes of the Panther [pdf file]
  • The Horror Masters -- many of Bierce's stories posted here as pdf files.
  • Concordances of Ambrose Bierce Searchable database versions of The Devil's Dictionary and Can Such Things Be?
  • Collection of Bierce Short Stories Most of them from his Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.
  • Selected Poetry
  • Another Way. Bierce's most moving poem
  • Bierce on Edwin Markam. Bierce's was an early champion of the poet, famed for "The Man with the Hoe."
  • Last Words. One of Bierce's final letters--to his niece, Lora
  • Bierce on Politics. His own words on the Bush-Gore Eelection of 2000
  • Bierce on the Twin Towers Disaster. His own words on the worst terrorism in American history
  • Bierce on the American Taliban. His own words on the abuse of God and religion
  • Audio Books For Free. This site has four Bierce stories in mp3 audio: The Damned Thing, Man and Snake, Middle Toe, and Staley Fleming's Hallucination
  • Voice of America. Audio version of Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge as part of VOA's Special English Program. The story's read verrrrry slowly.

  • AMBROSE BIERCE: "The fact is, that of your own sanity you have no evidence that's any better than some lunatic who thinks he's Ulysses S. Grant or Jesus H. Christ. I certainly have no evidence of mine. For all I know you don't exist. Everything around me may be fictions of my disordered imagination."

    Other Bierce Sites & Scholarship

  • Bierce Journalism Archive. Excellent Archives of American Journalism site, including other literary luminaries such as Twain, London, Hemingway, etc.
  • Reading Bitter Bierce. Randy Stafford's MarzAat blog, which eruditely addresses a wide range Ambrose Bierce topics.
  • Ambrose Bierce Letters Project. The University of Cincinnati site focuses on Bierce letters written between 1895 to 1911.
  • "The Many Deaths of Ambrose Bierce. "Essay in The Paris Review of Oct. 1914. By Forrest Gander. Speculates on Bierce's disappearance.
  • The Fabulists: Stephen Vincent Benét & Ambrose Bierce. Essay by Don Swaim.
  • "Ambrose Bierce: The Man and His Demons" by Terrence Rafferty, New York Times 10/28/11.
  • "Did Ambrose Bierce, Pioneer Explorer Of Shadow Worlds, Vanish Into Another Dimension?" by Brad Steiger.
  • "Cynic's Progress: The brave life and mysterious death of Ambrose Bierce" by Andrew Ferguson. The Weekly Standard.
  • "The Life, Death and Legend of Ambrose Bierce" by Robert Buckman. Quill .
  • Neither Kings nor Americans. Evan Lampe's idiosyncratic take on Bierce and other authors in the Library of America series.
  • The Blasphemer Robert G. Ingersoll. Why He Mattered to Bierce. Essay by Don Swaim
  • Ambrose & Henry. H.L Mencken's Debt to Ambrose Bierce. Essay by Don Swaim in Menckeniana.
  • "To the Devil: The Devil's Dictionary at 100" by Stefany Anne Golberg in Drexel University's Smart Set Magazine.
  • "Great American Cynic" by Benjamin Schwartz in The Atlantic, September 2011
  • Intro to A Sole Survivor: Bits of Autobiography (Ambrose Bierce) by S. T. Joshi & David E. Schultz
  • The Ambrose Bierce Project. Flashy academic product from Penn State. Super visuals. Alas, content is no longer being added.
  • Ambrose Bierce in the News. Incredible amount of news generating regarding Bierce. [disclaimer: one of the AB Site's pages.]
  • Ambrose Bierce Appreciation Society. First on line but now defunct. Its Bierce bibliography was super, but not updated for many years.
  • Allan Gullette's Bierce Page. Early site. Decent bio. Updated haphazardly.
  • Five Questions About: Ambrose Bierce. DaRK PaRTY ReVIEW, Boston-based online literary magazine, queries Ambrose Bierce Site webmaster Don Swaim about the life and disappearance of the legendary curmudgeon.
  • Chronology of the Life and Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce. First and, presumably, the only such chronology on the web. (disclaimer: one of the A.B. Site's pages.)
  • Reanimating Peyton Farquhar: Adaptations of Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: in American Radio & Television. Excellent essay by Richard J. Hand.
  • Devil's Dictionary Defiled. By S.R. Brubaker, who adds to Bierce's own dictionary (but who hasn't?).
  • Waking Ambrose. Amusing site, cunningly designed, with a lot of the author Doug Pascover's own material.
  • Prattle: The Cynic's Companion. Doug Pascover expands his Waking Ambrose Site with personal stories and audio.
  • A Warsaw Boy in London. Article published in the March 19, 1874, edition of the Northern Indianian, which cites Bierce's Civil War record and his writing career in San Francisco and London.
  • Ambrose Bierce and the Joy of Outrage. Essay by Jack Matthews.
  • The Poetry of Ambrose Bierce. by Jack Matthews.
  • The Last Stand of Ambrose Bierce. Script of Rob Foster's two act play. Staged in Carmel, California, 2001.
  • Ambrose & Gertrude. A short play by Don Swaim.
  • The Old Gringo: Fact, Fiction and Fantasy. Glenn Willeford's lengthy article speculating about the death of Bierce in Mexico
  • Master of Magical Cynicism by Giridhar Khasnis in The Hindu, India's National Newspaper. Succinct commentary on Bierce's life and times..
  • Downloadable version of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Twenty-eight minute 1962 film version directed by Robert Enrico. Needs RealPlayer 8.
  • Ambrose Bierce's "Chickamauga": An Interdisciplinary Approach by Donald Broda,a critical analysis of the famous story.
  • Questia: The Online Library More than a dozen books by and about Bierce, including biography and interpretation. Note: this is a pay site.
  • California Literature by Arthur Inkersley. Focuses on Bierce and his compatriots in an article that appeared in 1897 in the San Francisco News Letter.
  • Alone in Bad Company by Roy Morris, Jr. First chapter of his 1995 biography of Bierce.
  • Tentative Bierce Bibliography from S. Baum, Dept. of Oceanography, Texas A&M University.
  • Modest Bierce Bibliography from the UK.
  • Bastard out of California Ambrose Bierce as a Pre-Muckraker. Essay by Andrew Hicks.
  • Mark Twain - Ambrose Bierce and the Bohemian Grove Club on David Icke's website.
  • Ambrose Bierce: Essay by Donald Clarke. Short biography and critical analysis.
  • Bierce Quotes -- although most of them you'll find in The Devil's Dictionary:
  • Interpreting the Devil's DictionaryAndrew Graham of Keele University (U.K.) has put his scholarly interpretation of Bierce's Devil's Dictionary on the web.
  • Ambrose Bierce, Master of the Macabre. Alan Gullete's sketchy biography.
  • Brief Bio & Bibliography at Books & Writers
  • Brief Bierce Biography in English and Spanish by Charles Bellver Torla.
  • The Carey McWilliams Collection Listing of material at UCLA collected by the first major Bierce biographer.
  • Bierce Archive at Stanford University Bierce Papers consisting primarily of correspondence to Bierce from 1872-1913. In addition to photos, the collection also contains reminiscences and memorabilia of the Civil War, including the sketchbook Bierce kept while serving as a Union topographer with the staff of General W. B. Hazen.
  • Bierce Papers at USC, Berkeley Letters to Bierce ca.1894-1913.
  • Wired for Books. Don Swaim & Jack Matthews debate the myth and mind of Ambrose Bierce in RealAudio.
  • Bierce Versus Jack London. Fanciful reconstruction of legendary Bierce-London driking bout in 1910.
  • Love & Kisses: Bierce & Wilde. Ambrose Bierce meets Oscar Wilde.
  • Wickedest man in San Francisco. Don Swaim's story of Bierce in California.
  • Bierce Duels with the Sage of Baltimore. Ambrose Bierce takes on H. L. Mencken.
  • Bierce Saves the Life of Pancho Villa. Ambrose Bierce and Pancho Villa.
  • Literary San Antonio: Ambrose Bierce Account of Bierce's visit to San Antonio shortly before his disappearance in Mexico.
  • Devil in the Details by James McWilliams, Austin Chronicle Lengthy interview with Leon Day, amateur historian who has spent years investigating Bierce's disappearance.
  • Ambrose Bierce by Janice Albert Modest, opinionated account of Bierce that borrows heavily from the Roy Morris, Jr., biography.
  • Nice French Site Devoted to Ambrose Bierce Yes, it's in French, but the search engine Google allows a translation into English.
  • Spanish-language site focusing on Bierce's horror stories in Spanish, but, again, Google allows a translation into English.
  • EduETH page devoted to Ambrose Bierce with bio, reading list, etc.
  • American Listeners' Theater. Timothy Patrick Miller, in his "A Magical Reality Chautaqua Show," reads some of Bierce's stories as mp3 files -- including a free version of Bierce's "Moxon's Master," with new releases every two weeks.
  • Ambrose Bierce Communication Board. Board is still up but replaced by the new Bierce Facebook Group Page.
  • ARCHIVE of Ambrose Bierce Communication Board (Partial).
  • Col 2

    AMBROSE BIERCE: "Let me tell you what a writer is. A writer takes comprehensive views, holds large convictions, makes wide generalizations. A writer's not English, Mexican, or American. A writer's not a woman nor a man. A writer's not Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, nor snake worshipper. To local standards of right and wrong a writer's civilly indifferent. In the virtues, a writer's concerned only with general expediency. A writer doesn't waste time focusing on fixed moral principles that aren't yet before the court of conscience. Happiness discloses itself to a writer as the end and purpose of life, and art and love are the only means to a writer's happiness. A writer is free of all doctrines, theories, etiquettes, and politics. To a writer, a continent doesn't seem long, nor a century wide. And a writer has ever present consciousness that this is a world of...fools and rogues, blind with superstition, tormented with envy, consumed with vanity, selfish, false, cruel, cursed with illusions, and frothing mad."

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