By Bruce Watson

Once derided as a hopeless cynic, American writer Ambrose Bierce now enjoys a fantastic literary acceptance. Witty and sardonic, Bierce speaks to our personal scandal-ridden occasions. His savage Civil warfare 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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Extra resources for Ambrose Bierce. The Devil’s Cynic

Sample text

How much would Bierce demand to cease and desist? Bierce said nothing. ” Huntington shouted. “My price,” Bierce boomed, “is 75 million dollars! . ” Silenced, Huntington backed off. After a long, hot summer Bierce returned to California, his job done. Two hundred thousand signatures on a petition against the funding bill helped to defeat it. A few years later, when the Southern Pacific was given 10 years to pay its debts, Bierce’s victory was cited as the first salvo fired by the Muckrakers. He had cut the railroad down to size and made his name as well known in the East as it had been in the West.

Huntington, “the Swine of the Century . . ” 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!

G. Bierce wrote a column called “Prattle” and prattled against the world. ,” said a fellow columnist, stood for “Almighty God,” and godlike were his denunciations as his reputation grew. “If nonsense were black, Sacramento would need gas lamps at noonday,” he wrote of the state legislature. ” Many “Prattle” columns began “When I am dictator . ” He had developed a theatrical persona. 45. Once, when a rival editor sent a death threat, “Prattle” calmly wrote that he would leave his office at a certain hour, walk up the right-hand side of Market Street, and be ready for any hostilities.

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