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The Devil's Dictionary (Illustrated) (English Edition)
 
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The Devil's Dictionary (Illustrated) (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Ambrose Bierce , Lester Banzuelo
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Présentation de l'éditeur

Originally published in 1906 as “The Cynic’s Word Book,” The Devil’s Dictionary may present common words reinterpreted with cynicism and acerbic wit, but this work is no downer. Funny, engaging, and thought-provoking, this book may be more than a hundred years old, but it remains a must-read for any contemporary wit who fancies himself a purveyor of irony and social commentary.

Biographie de l'auteur

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) was one of nineteenth-century America’s most renowned satirists. The author of short stories, essays, fables, poems, and sketches, he was a popular columnist and wrote for several San Francisco and London newspapers during his forty-year journalism career.

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4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A definitive collection 3 janvier 2006
Par FrKurt Messick TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
'The Devil's Dictionary' is an interesting, very intellectually cynical collection of proposed definitions to words collected by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce, a journalist, writer, Civil War veteran, and general misanthrope, who disappeared without a trace in Mexico about 1914. In the words of H.L. Mencken, Bierce has produced 'some of the most gorgeous witticism of the English language.' Bierce delights in irreverence and poking fun at all aspects of life.
Bierce's own definition of dictionary gives some insight into his general thought patterns:
'Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.'
This would lead us to conclude (most correctly) that Bierce is a world-class cynic. What is a cynic?
'Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.'
Originally published under the title 'The Cynic's Word Book', most of the definitions in this book originally appeared as part newspaper columns. There have been many imitators, but this is the first and finest collection. Arranged as a dictionary, it provides an interesting writer's tool for finding a unique perspective on words and phrases. There are more than 1000 entries. A few examples include:
'Outdo, v.t., To make an enemy.'
'Universalist, n. One who foregoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.'
Fair warning -- those who do not like cynicism and scathing wit will find this book irritating, and sometimes offensive.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  76 commentaires
74 internautes sur 76 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Hilarious, Intelligent, Something to Share 8 juin 2000
Par Matthew Schenker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I first acquired this book about five years ago, after reading Bierce's fictional works. I could not put it down. You don't read this book sequentially, but rather it is a book to leaf through, stopping where you find a word that interests you. With the format of a dictionary, Bierce sets up the look and feel of the official word, which is what we expect from a dictionary. Then, reading the definitions, you at first think, "Bierce is being a wise guy." But after a few more definitions, you realize that Bierce is actually delivering a concise treatise on Western Culture by giving you a shot-by-shot commentary, using as his basis the essential element of any society -- its language. Birece may not have realized it when he wrote the book, but The Devil's Dictionary aligns with some 21st-century literary experimentations with concise presentation, irony, and non-linear exploration. Even reading it non-linearly, however, you soon find you've read every entry in the book. Then, of course, you'll want to start again...
My favorites are the definitions pertaining to religion.
69 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 it ain't Webster's 26 août 2001
Par Orrin C. Judd - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Beginning in 1881 and continuing to 1906, Ambrose Bierce created a series of sardonic word definitions of his own. Many of these were collected and published as The Cynic's Word Book, which he later protested was "a name which the author had not the power to reject or happiness to approve." So in 1911, he pulled together a collection that was more to his own liking and called it The Devil's Dictionary. The entries are a tad uneven in quality, but most are amusing and some are great. Each reader will have his own favorites, some of mine are as follows : ACQUAINTANCE, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to. A degree of friendship called slight when its object is poor or obscure, and intimate when he is rich or famous. ALLIANCE, n. In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen. CONSULT, v.i. To seek another's disapproval of a course already decided on. CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision. DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work. DISCRIMINATE, v.i. To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another. EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding. FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured. HISTORY, n. An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.... A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling... He has the last word in everything; his decision is unappealable. He sets the fashions and opinion of taste, dictates the limitations of speech and circumscribes conduct with a dead-line. POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. And, my choice for the very best among them : CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. By all means, read it and pick out your own; you're sure to find a few that tickle your fancy. GRADE : A
59 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Avoid This Incomplete Edition 12 janvier 2004
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
The Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Ralph Steadman is ABRIDGED. Do not purchase unless you are buying it for the drawings.
45 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A definitive collection 22 juillet 2003
Par FrKurt Messick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
'The Devil's Dictionary' is an interesting, very intellectually cynical collection of proposed definitions to words collected by Ambrose Gwinett Bierce, a journalist, writer, Civil War veteran, and general misanthrope, who disappeared without a trace in Mexico about 1914. In the words of H.L. Mencken, Bierce has produced 'some of the most gorgeous witticism of the English language.' Bierce delights in irreverence and poking fun at all aspects of life.
Bierce's own definition of dictionary gives some insight into his general thought patterns:
'Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.'
This would lead us to conclude (most correctly) that Bierce is a world-class cynic. What is a cynic?
'Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.'
Originally published under the title 'The Cynic's Word Book', most of the definitions in this book originally appeared as part newspaper columns. There have been many imitators, but this is the first and finest collection. Arranged as a dictionary, it provides an interesting writer's tool for finding a unique perspective on words and phrases. There are more than 1000 entries. A few examples include:
'Outdo, v.t., To make an enemy.'
'Universalist, n. One who foregoes the advantage of a Hell for persons of another faith.'
Fair warning -- those who do not like cynicism and scathing wit will find this book irritating, and sometimes offensive. Bierce is a product of his generation; political correctness wasn't in vogue then, and, even if it had been, Bierce would have been one of the sharpest critics.
As a Christian priest, I take great delight in the insights from Bierce's criticism of religion in general, and Christianity in particular.
'Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.'
Why does this ring so true? Of course, there is the old adage that if you scratch a cynic, you'll find an idealist. Bierce would undoubtedly have described himself as a realist, but buried beneath many layers of cynicism, one can sense the idealism.
Why did Bierce go to Mexico? Perhaps his underlying idealism led him to a country that was awash in revolutionary ideas; perhaps those ideas are what cost him his life. Perhaps he went underground? It is possible we will never know.
The publisher of this volume, one of but many reprints of the text over time, says: 'The caustic aphorisms collected in "The Devil's Dictionary" helped earn Ambrose Bierce the epithets Bitter Bierce, the Devil's Lexicographer, and the Wickedest Man in San Francisco. The words he shaped into verbal pitchforks a century ago--with or without the devil's help--can still draw blood today.'
This book is very useful for generating ideas for writing and reflection. It is a good counterpoint to 'guides to positive thinking' kinds of material, and can serve as a tempering agent on such collections.
40 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 an ABRIDGED version 13 mars 2005
Par Texas Lawyer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I'd skip this and purchase the UNABRIDGED version. Some of the definitions left out in this version are among Bierce's best. Also, the complete work is not so long: no reason to abridge something that in full length is only 100 or so pages long.
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