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The Devil's Dictionary

Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Devil's Dictionary
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Born in Ohio in 1842, journalist, short-story writer and critic Ambrose Bierce developed into one of this country's most celebrated and cynical wits -- a merciless "American Swift" whose literary barbs were aimed at folly, self-delusion, politics, business, religion, literature and the arts. In this splendid "dictionary" of epigrams, essays, verses and vignettes, you'll find over 1,000 pointed definitions, e.g. Congratulation ("The civility of envy"), Coward ("One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs") and Historian ("A broad-gauge gossip"). Anyone who likes to laugh will love The Devil's Dictionary. Anyone looking for a bon mot to enliven their next speech, paper or conversation will have a field day thumbing through what H. L. Mencken called "some of the most gorgeous witticisms in the English language."

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Publisher: New York : Dover Publications, 1993
ISBN: 0486275426
Branch Call Number: PS1097 .D4 1993
Characteristics: 139 p. ; 21 cm

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Feb 18, 2013
  • unbalancedbutfair rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Perhaps it ought to be titled "a misanthropist's guide to society". His observations are intelligent, insightful and amusing. They are barbed, and his insight sometimes stretches further than many wish it would, but only a fool can deny the nugget of truth at the center of his definitions. Some rage at it, but I think it is wiser to laugh, groan, and smile at this collection of brutally honest (thought wittily recounted) appraisals of the human condition.

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