If we could only put aside our civil pose and say what we really thought, the world would be a lot like the one alluded to in The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. There, a bore is “a person who talks when you wish him to listen,” and happiness is “an agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.” This is the most comprehensive, authoritative edition ever of Ambrose Bierce’s satiric masterpiece. It renders obsolete all other versions that have appeared in the book’s ninety-year history.
A virtual onslaught of acerbic, confrontational wordplay, The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary offers some 1,600 wickedly clever definitions to the vocabulary of everyday life. Little is sacred and few are safe, for Bierce targets just about any pursuit, from matrimony to immortality, that allows our willful failings and excesses to shine forth.
This new edition is based on David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi’s exhaustive investigation into the book’s writing and publishing history. All of Bierce’s known satiric definitions are here, including previously uncollected, unpublished, and alternative entries. Definitions dropped from previous editions have been restored while nearly two hundred wrongly attributed to Bierce have been excised. For dedicated Bierce readers, an introduction and notes are also included.
Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary is a classic that stands alongside the best work of satirists such as Twain, Mencken, and Thurber. This unabridged edition will be celebrated by humor fans and word lovers everywhere.