The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary

Front Cover
University of Georgia Press, Sep 15, 2010 - Humor - 440 pages

If we could only put aside our civil pose and say what we really thought, the world would be a lot like the one alluded to in The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. There, a bore is "a person who talks when you wish him to listen," and happiness is "an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another." This is the most comprehensive, authoritative edition ever of Ambrose Bierce’s satiric masterpiece. It renders obsolete all other versions that have appeared in the book’s ninety-year history.

A virtual onslaught of acerbic, confrontational wordplay, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary offers some 1,600 wickedly clever definitions to the vocabulary of everyday life. Little is sacred and few are safe, for Bierce targets just about any pursuit, from matrimony to immortality, that allows our willful failings and excesses to shine forth.

This new edition is based on David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi’s exhaustive investigation into the book’s writing and publishing history. All of Bierce’s known satiric definitions are here, including previously uncollected, unpublished, and alternative entries. Definitions dropped from previous editions have been restored while nearly two hundred wrongly attributed to Bierce have been excised. For dedicated Bierce readers, an introduction and notes are also included.

Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary is a classic that stands alongside the best work of satirists such as Twain, Mencken, and Thurber. This unabridged edition will be celebrated by humor fans and word lovers everywhere.

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User Review  - AntT - LibraryThing

I love this little book! Bierce really had a sly way with words. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AntT - LibraryThing

I love this little book! Bierce really had a sly way with words. Read full review

Contents

APPENDIX
247
NOTES
271
LIST OF APPEARANCES OF DEFINITIONS
349
BIBLIOGRAPHY
383
INDEX
391
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 314 - Lo, the poor Indian ! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul, proud science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk, or milky way...
Page 287 - And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Page xv - And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out : It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire : 48 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Page 279 - No farther seek his merits to disclose, Or draw his frailties from their dread abode (There they alike in trembling hope repose), The bosom of his Father and his God.
Page 292 - Thou shalt have one God only; who Would be at the expense of two? No graven images may be Worshipped, except the currency: Swear not at all; for, for thy curse Thine enemy is none the worse: At church on Sunday to attend Will serve to keep the world thy friend: Honour thy parents; that is, all From whom advancement may befall: Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive Officiously to keep alive...
Page 145 - All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye, The mere despair of surgery, he cures ; Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, Put on with holy prayers : and 'tis spoken, To the succeeding royalty he leaves The healing benediction.
Page 80 - He either fears his fate too much, Or his deserts are small, Who dares not put it to the touch, To gain or lose it all.
Page 63 - ... favorable report of the country, their increase by birth, immigration, and conversion has been rapid and steady. According to the most trustworthy statistics the number of adult Dullards in the United States is but little short of thirty millions, including the statisticians. The intellectual centre of the race is somewhere about Peoria, Illinois, but the New England Dullard is the most shockingly moral. DUTY, n.
Page 310 - THAT AND A' THAT" Is there, for honest Poverty, That hangs his head, and a' that! The coward slave, we pass him by, We dare be poor for a

About the author (2010)

Ambrose Bierce (Author)
AMBROSE BIERCE (1842–1914?) was one of nineteenth-century America’s most renowned satirists. The author of short stories, essays, fables, poems, and sketches, he was a popular columnist and wrote for several San Francisco and London newspapers during his forty-year journalism career.

David E. Schultz (Editor)
DAVID E. SCHULTZ is a technical editor. He is coeditor, with S. T. Joshi, of both A Sole Survivor, a collection of Ambrose Bierce's autobiographical writings, and Lord of a Visible World, an autobiography-in-letters of H. P. Lovecraft.

S. T. Joshi (Editor)
S. T. JOSHI is a freelance writer and editor. He is the editor of The Collected Fables of Ambrose Bierce and author of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life.

Bibliographic information