Sunday 21 June 2009

Loving The Devil’s Dictionary; Loving Ambrose Bierce

I’ve been leafing through my copy of the wonderful The Devil’s Dictionary, alighting on some favourite definitions. Here are a few;

Cat: a soft, indestructible automaton provided by Nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.

Love: a temporary insanity cured by marriage.

Philosophy: a route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

Religion: the daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

Idiot: member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. :))

And what about me? Well, I like this;

Zeal: a certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced.

In general Ambrose Bierce is one of my favourite American writers, along with Mark Twain, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hewingway, Damon Runyon and Truman Capote. But there is something strangely unique about Bierce, something, it might even be said, of Faust himself. His wonderfully Gothic short stories reveal complexities and depth of meaning beyond ordinary eyes.

Where did he go, what happened to him in the end? Alas, we will never know. Perhaps the Devil simply claimed his own. :)

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