The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce

by Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – c. 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and American Civil War veteran. His book The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. His story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" has been described as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature", and his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life) was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900.
A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States, and as a pioneering writer of realist fiction. For his horror writing, Michael Dirda ranked him alongside Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. S. T. Joshi speculates that he may well be the greatest satirist America has ever produced, and in this regard can take his place with such figures as Juvenal, Swift, and Voltaire. His war stories influenced Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, and others, and he was considered an influential and feared literary critic. In recent decades Bierce has gained wider respect as a fabulist and for his poetry.
In 1913, Bierce told reporters that he was travelling to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He disappeared and was never seen again.
Excerpted from Ambrose Bierce on Wikipedia.

The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce

person AuthorAmbrose Bierce
language CountryUnited States
api GenreShort Stories, Horror, Supernatural Fiction, War, Essays
copyright CopyrightPublic domain worldwide.
camera_alt Book cover-
book_online EbooksProject Gutenberg
description Scans-
headphones AudioLibrivox | Internet Archive
auto_stories Read onlineNote: Some volumes are still incomplete.

Volume I: Ashes of the Beacon
--No audio--
One sunny afternoon in the autumn of the year 1861 a soldier lay in a clump of laurel by the side of a road in western Virginia. He lay at full length upon his stomach, his feet resting upon the toes, his head upon the left forearm...

Volume II: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians
--Read by David Wales--
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians is a collection of short stories by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce, also published under the title In the Midst of Life. With a stated publication date of 1891 the stories describe unusual incidents in the lives of soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War. Tales of Soldiers and Civilians was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900, stating "These short stories are among the finest, and best known, in American literature. ... Written in a clear simple style, with each phrase contributing to the total effect, Bierce's tales pointed the way for the American short-story writer."
Bierce's famous story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is included in this collection.

Volume III: Can Such Things Be?
--Read by Roger Melin--
Twenty-four tales of the weird by Ambrose Bierce, renowned master of the macabre. Stories of ghosts, apparitions, and strange, inexplicable occurrences are prevalent in these tales, some of which occur on or near Civil War fields of battle, some in country cottages, and some within urban areas. Can Such Things Be? implies and relates that anything is possible, at any time.

Volume IV: Shapes of Clay
--No Audio--
Poems by Ambrose Bierce. As in all Bierce's work, his poetry is witty, caustic and ironic. Some of the poems included are:

In Bacon see the culminating prime,
Of Anglo-Saxon intellect and crime;
Novum Organum

Let lowly themes engage my humble pen
Stupidities of critics, not of men;
For a Certain Critic

Little's the good to sit and grieve,
Because the serpent tempted Eve.
Better to wipe your eyes and take
A club and go out and kill a snake.

Volume V: Black Beetles in Amber
--No audio--
Best known for his tales of bleak reality and dark imagination, Ambrose Bierce also gave expression to his sardonic, epigrammatic wit in verse form. Black Beetles in Amber collects his finest forays into versification. Some are barbed and venomous, while others are simply entertaining sallies upon the entertaining foibles of his day.

A newspaper Death-poet sat at his desk,
Wrapped in appropriate gloom;
His posture was pensive and picturesque,
Like a raven charming a tomb.
An Obituarian

Volume VI: The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter; Fantastic Fables
   1. The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter (Read by Phil Chenevert)
Arriving at a rural monastery, the monk Ambrosius meets a young girl called Benedicta, shunned by the local community for being the daughter of the local hangman. Ambrosius is drawn into a dangerous friendship with her and, in defiance of the community and his superiors, he starts spending time alone with her. But when her virtue is corrupted by an impetuous young man, the stage is set for a battle between body and spirit, the sins of the past and the desire for redemption. Allegedly a rewriting from a lost German original, Ambrose Bierce's 1892 novel reads as a seamless, almost folk-tale-like masterpiece.

   2. Fantastic Fables (No Audio)
Known as "the American Swift", Ambrose Bierce gleefully skewered greedy politicians, thieving doctors, not-so-pious holy men, and other hypocritical individuals and institutions in this unique book. With his characteristic blend of sarcasm and satire, Bierce presents 245 fables that rival Aesop and La Fontaine in their mordant wit and keen insights into human nature.

Volume VII: The Devil's Dictionary
--Reader: Collaborative--
The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist Ambrose Bierce, consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for magazines and newspapers. Bierce's witty definitions were imitated and plagiarized for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic's Word Book in 1906 and then in a more complete version as The Devil's Dictionary in 1911.
Initial reception of the book versions was mixed. In the decades following, however, the stature of The Devil's Dictionary grew. It has been widely quoted, frequently translated, and often imitated, earning a global reputation. In the 1970s, The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. It has been called "howlingly funny", and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig said in an interview that The Devil's Dictionary is "probably the most brilliant work of satire written in America. And maybe one of the greatest in all of world literature."

Volume VIII: Negligible Tales; On with the Dance; Epigrams
--No Audio--

Volume IX: Tangential Views
--No Audio--
Essays by Ambrose Bierce.

Volume X: The Opinionator
--No Audio--
Essays by Ambrose Bierce.

Volume XI: Antepenultimata
--No Audio--
Essays by Ambrose Bierce.

Volume XII: In Motley
--No Audio--