Monday, 14 June 2010

The Devil's Dictionary

BORE - A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

I first encountered the Amercian satirist Ambrose Bierce through his superb stories of the macabre. Many of these, and his cynical outlook on life generally, were inspired by his experiences during the Civil War. After the war he became a journalist and between 1881 and 1886 contributed his barbed and pithy definitions under the header The Devil's Dictionary in a satirical magazine called The Wasp. Bierce went to report on the Mexican revolution in 1913, disappeared into a jungle and was never heard of again. Every day I shall dip into The Devil's Dictionary and hopefully pull out a plum definition. I did think of doing so alphabetically but decided that was a bit anal - anyway, the above is one of my favourites (ie one of the few I could remember without having to look it up).

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