Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914?)

American journalist, satirist, and short story writer. Bierce was born the tenth child of a poor Ohio family. After serving in the Civil War and working as a journalist in San Francisco, he went to England, where he wrote satiric sketches. In 1876 he returned to San Francisco as a reporter and editorialist for William Randolph Hearst’s Examiner, where he cultivated a misanthropic persona as “Bitter Bierce.” Following divorce and the death of his two sons, Bierce traveled to Mexico, where he reportedly rode with Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries; he disappeared and is presumed to have died there. He is best known for The Devil’s Dictionary (1906), a collection of darkly comic definitions, but his literary reputation rests on his Civil War stories, particularly “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Bierce’s twelve-volume Collected Works (1909–1912) contains his tales, essays, poems, and fables. See also