Talk:Ambrose Bierce

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Comments on quotes from "What I Saw At Shiloh" (1881)[edit]

  1. i think the number and quality of quotes justifies a heading/sub-section
  2. the essay is divided into parts headed by roman numerals -- it is those roman numerals which are used to identify the place of the quote in the essay
  3. the following quote could easily be terminated after the phrase: "I do not presume to guess." as the remainder is more contextual than commentary, although it does highlight the obscurity and remoteness of the immediate area being contested:

I suppose the country lying between Corinth and Pittsburg Landing could boast a few inhabitants other than alligators. What manner of people they were it is impossible to say, inasmuch as the fighting dispersed, or possibly exterminated them; perhaps in merely classing them as non-saurian I shall describe them with sufficient particularity and at the same time avert from myself the natural suspioion attaching to a writer who points out to persons who do not know him the peculiarities of persons whom he does not know. One thing, however, I hope I may without offense affirm of these swamp-dwellers--they were pious. To what deity their veneration was given--whether, like the Egyptians, they worshiped the crocodile, or, like other Americans, adored themselves, I do not presume to guess. But whoever, or whatever, may have been the divinity whose ends they shaped, unto Him, or It, they had builded a temple. This humble edifice, centrally situated in the heart of a solitude, and conveniently accessible to the supersylvan crow, had been christened Shiloh Chapel, whence the name of the battle.

GJR (talk) 00:59, 13 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Not in the Devil's Dictionary[edit]

I've removed these because they are not in the Devil's dictionary or are not a quote by Bierce Nice or in evil 21:19, 31 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]

  • Custard
  • Guilt
  • Immortality
while a poem appears in the Devil's Dictionary, it is in fact made by Father Gassalasca Jape not Bierce himself
  • Inhumanity
  • Joy
  • Quack
  • Discrimination
  • Superiority
  • Racism


  • Think twice before helping a friend in need.
  • Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
  • Certain old men prefer to rise at dawn, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.
  • Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum.
    • Translation: I think [that] I think, therefore, I think [that] I am.
  • Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.
  • I keep a conscience uncorrupted by religion, a judgment undimmed by politics and patriotism, a heart untainted by friendships and sentiments unsoured by animosities.
  • In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office.
  • Platonic Love is a fool's name for the affection between a disability and a frost.
  • Religions are conclusions for which the facts of nature supply no major premises.
  • The covers of this book are too far apart.
    • From an editorial book review.
  • The ineffable dunce has nothing to say … embroidering it with reasonless vulgarities of attitudes, gestures and attire. There was never an impostor so hateful … a crank so variously stupid and dull. He makes me tired.
  • The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.
  • There are four kinds of Homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy.
  • War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.
  • Children who have proven themselves to be incorrigible by the age of twelve should be quickly and quietly beheaded, lest they grow to maturity, marry, and perpetuate the likeness of their being.
  • Liberty is defended with three boxes: The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.