Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce, 1842 - 1913/14?
Born: 24 June 1842, Meigs County, Ohio
Bierce grew up in a literary household in Indiana, attending high school at Warsaw, leaving home at fifteen to become a "printer's devil" at a small Ohio newspaper. He joined the Union Army's 9th Indiana Regiment in 1862, rising from first lieutenant to brevet major by the time he left the army in San Francisco in 1867 at which point he took up journalism. He was a contributor or editor of The San Francisco News Letter, The Argonaut, the Overland Monthly, The Californian, and The Wasp. He spent three years writing in England, returned to San Francisco, managed a mining company in the Dakota Territory, and finally returned to San Francisco and gained national prominence based on his columns for Hearst's San Francisco Examiner. He took on the railroads by traveling to Washington City to publicize and oppose the Railroad Refinancing Bill which would have forgiven the $130 million advanced for the building of the first transcontinental railroad, already featuring very generous terms. He was a deft satirist, which earned him the name Bitter Bierce, his precise spare use of the language is a delight to readers, especially to quote collectors. He went to Mexico in October 1913 and joined Pancho Villa's revolutionaries as an observer but vanished after sending a letter from Chihuahua on 26 December of that year.
Among his many writings is the body of work collectively known as The Devil's Dictionary, quotes from that are shown separately under Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Ambrose Bierce quotes:
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- A bird in the hand is worth what it will bring. permalink
- A bore is a person who talks when you want him to listen. permalink
- A conversation, is a vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener. permalink
- A man is known by the company that he organizes. permalink
- A man is the sum of his ancestors; to reform him you must begin with a dead ape and work downward through a million graves. He is like the lower end of a suspended chain; you can sway him slightly to the right or the left, but remove your hand and he falls into line with the other links. permalink
- A popular author is one who writes what the people think. Genius invites them to think something else. permalink
- A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others. permalink
- Ability is commonly found to consist mainly in a high degree of solemnity. permalink
- Absence blots people out. We really have no absent friends. permalink
- Age is provident because the less future we have the more we fear it. permalink
- Age, with his eyes in the back of his head, thinks it wisdom to see the bogs through which he has floundered. permalink
- All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher. permalink
Cosmopolitan (February 1907)
- Along the road of life are many pleasure resorts, but think not that by tarrying in them you will take more days to the journey. The day of your arrival is already recorded. permalink
- An army's bravest men are its cowards. The death which they would not meet at the hands of the enemy they will meet at the hands of their officers, with never a flinching. permalink
What I Saw At Shiloh (1881)
- Before undergoing a surgical operation arrange your temporal affairs. You may live. permalink
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