“The Devil’s Dictionary”and “Can Such Things Be?”
Originally presented at the Wright Chapel at the Lakewood Presbyterian Church
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer. Bierce’s book The Devil’s Dictionary was named as one of “The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature” by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. For his horror writing, Michael Dirda ranked him alongside Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft as a pioneering writer of macabre fiction. His war stories influenced Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, and others, and he was considered an influential and feared literary critic. In December 1913, Bierce traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He disappeared, and was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops. He was never seen again.