Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, The

One of Twenty-Five Presentation Copies

BIERCE, Ambrose. The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912.

One of twenty-five Presentation copies out of a total edition of 250 sets, with a preliminary leaf in volumes one, two and four signed by the author. Twelve octavo volumes (8 11/16 x 6 1/16 inches; 221 x 154 mm.). Frontispiece portrait in Volume I.

Contemporary Three-quarter brown levant morocco over brown cloth boards ruled in gilt. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers. Armorial bookplate of Vincent Lloyd Russell on front pastedown of each volume. A very fine set.

"Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – 1914?) was an American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical dictionary, The Devil's Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic – earned him the nickname, "Bitter Bierce." Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including the poet, George Sterling and the fiction writer, W. C. Morrow. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace… His short stories are held among the best of the 19th century, providing a popular following based on his roots. He wrote realistically of the terrible things he had seen in the war in such stories as An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Killed at Resaca, and Chickamauga. Bierce was considered a master of "Pure" English by his contemporaries, and virtually everything that came from his pen was notable for its judicious wording and economy of style. He wrote in a variety of literary genres. In addition to his ghost and war stories, he also published several volumes of poetry and verse. His Fantastic Fables anticipated the ironic style of grotesquerie that turned into a genre in the 20th century. One of Bierce's most famous works is his much-quoted book, The Devil's Dictionary, originally an occasional newspaper item which was first published in book form in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book. It consists of satirical definitions of English words which lampoon cant and political double-talk. Under the entry "leonine", meaning a single line of poetry with an internal rhyming scheme, he included an apocryphal couplet written by the apocryphal Bella Peeler Silcox (Ella Wheeler Wilcox) in which an internal rhyme is achieved in both lines only by mispronouncing the rhyming words: The electric light invades the dunnest deep of Hades. Cries Pluto, 'twixt his snores: "O tempora! O mores!" Bierce's twelve-volume Collected Works were published in 1909, the seventh volume of which consists solely of The Devil's Dictionary, the title Bierce himself preferred to The Cynic's Word Book." (Wikipedia. Fully and solidly referenced).

"Lawyer, n. one skilled in circumvention of the law" (Devil's Dictionary).

BAL 1129. Starrett 24. Item #01346

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