Born June 24, 1842, in Horse Cave Creek, Meigs County, OH; disappeared in Mexico while acting as an observer of that country's civil war, c. January, 1914; son of Marcus Aurelius (a journeyman farmer) and Laura (Sherwood) Bierce; married Mary Ellen (Mollie) Day, December 25, 1871 (separated, 1891; divorced, 1904; died, 1904); children: Day (son; killed, 1889), Leigh (son; died, 1901), Helen. Education: Attended Kentucky Military Institute. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking in search of arrowheads; communing with nature; cycling.
Short-story writer, novelist, journalist, poet, essayist, and critic. Worked variously as printer's apprentice for the antislavery newspaper Northern Indianan, c. 1857-59; night watchman and memorandum clerk for the U.S. Sub-Treasury in San Francisco, CA, beginning 1867; writer, columnist, and managing editor for San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, c. 1867-72; assay branch worker for the U.S. Mint, c. 1876; manager-overseer of mine in Black Hills of South Dakota for several months in 1881; Washington, DC, correspondent for New York American, 1898-1909. Military service: U.S. Army, 1861-67; enlisted as private; became first lieutenant and acting topographical engineer; served with the Ninth Indiana Infantry Regiment as a drummer boy and Buell's Army of the Ohio; saw action in campaigns at Shiloh, Stone's River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Kennesaw Mountain, Franklin, Nashville, and Atlanta; brevetted to major after the American Civil War; then served in Selma, AL, as guardian of seized and abandoned property; later joined Major General William B. Hazen in mapping expedition from Omaha, NE, to San Francisco, CA.
Bohemian Club, Army-Navy Club.
(Under pseudonym Dod Grile) Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California (sketches), collected and loosely arranged by J. Milton Sloluck, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1872.
(Under pseudonym Dod Grile) The Fiend's Delight (sketches), A. L. Luyster, 1873.
(Under pseudonym Dod Grile) Cobwebs from an Empty Skull (fables and tales; originally appeared in Fun), illustrated with engravings by the Dalziel brothers, Routledge, 1874.
The Lantern, illuminated by Faustin, A. Wilcox, 1874.
(With Thomas A. Harcourt, under joint pseudonym William Herman) The Dance of Death (satire), privately printed, 1877, corrected and enlarged edition, Henry Keller, 1877.
(Under pseudonym Mrs. J. Milton Bowers) The Dance of Life, 1877.
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (short stories; includes "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"), E. L. G. Steele, 1891, published as In the Midst of Life: Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1892, revised and enlarged edition, Putnam (New York, NY), 1898.
Black Beetles in Amber (poetry), Western Authors Publishing, 1892.
(Adapter, with Adolphe Danziger De Castro) Richard Voss, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter (novel), translated by Gustav Adolph Danzinger, illustrated by Theodor Hampe, F. J. Schulte, 1892.
Can Such Things Be? (short stories), Cassell, 1893.
Fantastic Fables (satire), Putnam (New York, NY), 1899.
Shapes of Clay (poetry), W. E. Wood, 1903.
The Cynic's Word Book (satire), Doubleday (New York, NY), 1906, published as The Devil's Dictionary, Volume7of The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Neale, 1911, selections published as Diabolical Definitions; A Selection from the Devil's Dictionary of Ambrose Bierce, edited with an introduction by C. Merton Babcock, with illustrations by Stanley Wyatt, Peter Pauper Press (Mount Vernon, NY), 1970.
A Son of the Gods and A Horseman in the Sky, introduction by W. C. Morrow, P. Elder, 1907.
The Shadow on the Dial and Other Essays, editedbyS. O. Howes, A. M. Robertson, 1909, revised as Antepenultimata, Volume 11 of The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Neale, 1912.
Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults, (essay), Neale, 1909.
The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 1: Ashes of the Beacon, The Land Beyond the Blow, For the Ahkoond, John Smith Liberator, Bits of Autobiography; Volume 2: In the Midst of Life; Volume 3: Can Such Things Be?, The Ways of Ghosts, Soldier-Folk, Some Haunted Houses; Volume 4: Shapes of Clay, Some Antemortem Epitaphs, The Scrap Heap; Volume 5: Black Beetles in Amber, The Mummery, On Stone; Volume 6: The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter, Fantastic Fables, Aesopus Emendatus, Old Saws with New Teeth, Fables in Rhyme; Volume 7: The Devil's Dictionary; Volume 8: Negligible Tales, The Parenticide Club, The Fourth Estate, The Ocean Wave, On with the Dance!, Epigrams; Volume 9: Tangential Views; Volume 10: The Opinionator, The Reviewer, The Controversialist, The Timorous Reporter, The March Hare; Volume 11: Antepenultimata; Volume 12: In Motley, Kings of Beasts, Two Administrations; Miscellaneous, Neale, 1909-12.
Letters of Ambrose Bierce, edited by Bertha Clark Pope, Book Club of California, 1922.
Twenty-one Letters of Ambrose Bierce, edited by Samuel Loveman, G. Kirk, 1922.
The Eyes of the Panther, introduced by Martin Armstrong, J. Cape (London, England), 1928.
An Invocation by Ambrose Bierce, critical introduction by George Sterling, explanation by Oscar Lewis, J. H. Nash, 1928.
Battle Sketches, illustrated by Thomas Derrick, First Edition Club, 1930.
Battlefields and Ghosts, edited by Hartley E. Jackson and James D. Hart, Harvest Press, 1931.
Selections from Prattle by Ambrose Bierce, foreword by Joseph Henry Jackson, compiled by Carroll D. Hall, Book Club of California, 1936.
Collected Writings, edited by Clifton Fadiman, Citadel Press, 1946.
Ambrose Bierce's Civil War, edited and introduced by William McCann, H. Regnery Co., 1956.
The Sardonic Humor of Ambrose Bierce, edited by George Barkin, Dover (New York, NY), 1963.
Enlarged Devil's Dictionary, with 851 Newly Discovered Words and Definitions, edited by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1967.
The Ambrose Bierce Satanic Reader: Selections from the Invective Journalism of the Great Satirist, edited by Hopkins, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1968.
The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, edited by Hopkins, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1970.
Skepticism and Dissent: Selected Journalism from 1898-1901, edited with an introduction by Lawrence I. Berkove, Delmas (Ann Arbor, MI), 1980.
Seven Fables, illustrated by Louise Lafond, Press at Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO), 1986.
The Civil War Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled with a foreword by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1988.
Great Short Stories of the World: Thirty Classic Tales, edited by Lois Hill, Avenel Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Poems of Ambrose Bierce, edited and introduced by M. E. Grenander, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1995.
Shadows of Blue and Gray, edited by Brian M. Thomsen, Tom Doherty Associates (New York City), 2002.
Contributor to British magazines Fun, Figaro, and Hood's Comic Annual, c. 1872-75; writer, 1876-1886, and editor, 1880-1886, for San Francisco's Wasp; columnist for San Francisco Examiner, 1887-1898; also wrote for the Californian, Golden Era, Argonaut, Cosmopolitan, and New York Journal.
Bierce's short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was adapted as a French film in 1962, directed by Robert Enrico and broadcast on The Twilight Zone, in 1963.
Ambrose Bierce's literary reputation is based primarily on his short stories about the Civil War and the supernatural—a body of work that makes up a relatively small part of his total output. Often compared to the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, these stories share an attraction to death in its more bizarre forms, featuring depictions of mental deterioration, uncanny, otherworldly manifestations, and expressions of the horror of existence in a meaningless universe. Like Poe, Bierce professed to be mainly concerned with the artistry of his work, yet critics have found him more intent on conveying his misanthropy and pessimism. In his lifetime Bierce was famous as a California journalist dedicated to exposing the truth as he understood it, regardless of whose reputations were harmed by his attacks. For his sardonic wit and damning observations on the personalities and events of the day, he became known as "the wickedest man in San Francisco."
Bierce was born in Meigs County, Ohio. His parents were farmers and he was the tenth of thirteen children, all of whom were given names beginning with "A" at their father's insistence. "The father, Marcus Aurelius Bierce, was a shadowy, retiring figure who preferred books to plowing," Robert A. Wiggins recounted in American Writers. "His chief claim to local fame seems to have been owning the largest library thereabouts. To earn this distinction, only a modest collection was needed. He appears to have had considerable native intelligence and rather cultivated tastes, but lacked the ambition and application to do more than scrape a poor living from eighty acres. It was Laura, the mother, who, with a Bible in one hand and a switch in the other, ruled the household."
In 1846, the family moved to Indiana, where Bierce went to high school. M. E. Grenander in the Dictionary of Literary Biography recounted: "As an adult, not only informally to friends but also in the 18 March 1894 issue of the San Francisco Examiner, Bierce credited wide reading in his scholarly father's extensive library with his having been able to pull himself 'out of the life of obscurity, privation, and labor in the fields' to which he had been born. As he grew up, Bierce found consolation not only in his father's books but also in the beauties of the changing seasons in the countryside of northern Indiana, dotted with lakes and rolling hills. The years of his early adolescence were spent there except for a stint at the Kentucky Military Institute in 1859. When he returned to Indiana in 1860, he worked on the family farm and at various odd jobs. On 19 April 1861, a week after the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Bierce, like many other idealistic youths of his generation, enlisted in the Union Army. The following four impressionable years of his young manhood were marked by the blood and gore of America's most ferocious war.…In middle age he returned to scenes of the battles in which he had participated for the background of some of his most compelling stories and essays." In such units as the Ninth Indiana Infantry Regiment and Buell's Army of the Ohio, Bierce fought bravely in numerous military engagements, including the battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga and in Sherman's March to the Sea.
Moves to California
After the war Bierce traveled with a military expedition to San Francisco, where he left the army and prepared himself for a literary career. Bierce's early poetry and prose appeared in the Californian. In 1868 he became the editor of The News Letter, for which he wrote his famous "Town Crier" column. Bierce became something of a noted figure in California literary society, forming friendships with Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Joaquin Miller. In 1872 Bierce and his wife moved to England where, during a three-year stay, he wrote for Fun and Figaro magazines and acquired the nickname "Bitter Bierce." His first three books of sketches—Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California, The Fiend's Delight, and Cobwebs from an Empty Skull—were published during this period. When the English climate aggravated Bierce's asthma he returned to San Francisco. In 1887 he began writing for William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, continuing the "Prattler" column he had done for the Argonaut and the Wasp. This provided him with a regular outlet for his essays, epigrams, and short stories.
Bierce's major fiction was collected in Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, and Can Such Things Be? Many of these stories are realistic depictions of the author's experiences in the Civil War. However, Bierce was not striving for realism, as critics have pointed out and as he himself admitted, for his narratives often fail to supply sufficient verisimilitude. His most striking fictional effects depend on an adept manipulation of the reader viewpoint: a bloody battle-field seen through the eyes of a deaf child in "Chickamauga," for example, or the shifting perspectives of "The Death of Halpin Frayser." The classic Biercian narrative also includes a marked use of black humor, particularly in the ironic and hideous deaths his protagonists often suffer. The brutal satire Bierce employed in his journalism appears as plain brutality in his fiction, and critics have both condemned and praised his imagination, along with Poe's, as among the most vicious and morbid in American literature. Bierce's bare, economical style of supernatural horror is usually distinguished from the verbally lavish tales of Poe, and few critics rank Bierce as the equal of his predecessor.
Publishes "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"
Perhaps Bierce's most popular tale is "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," the story of a Confederate civilian during the American Civil War who is being hanged for trying to burn a Union Army bridge. "The story is divided into three sections," according to the essayist for Literature and Its Times. "The first describes the scene of the hanging, the second provides background to explain how Farquhar came to such a point, and the third details his imagined escape. The first section of the story is told mostly in the detached language of an objective observer. A man's hands are tied behind him and a noose encircles his neck. He stands on a railroad bridge, where he is flanked by Union soldiers quietly preparing to put him to death. The man makes no motion of protest, but remains quiet during the preparations. He is described as a civilian gentleman of thirty-five, a Confederate planter. As the time of his hanging approaches, he begins to consider a way to escape; but in the next moment, the plank he has been standing on is removed. Before more details of the hanging can be described, the story abruptly shifts to the next section, a flash-back into Farquhar's recent life.
"An ardent supporter of the Confederacy, he is always eager to hear news of the war. When a soldier stops by his plantation one evening, Farquhar presses him for details from the battlefront. This soldier, a Union spy disguised as a Confederate soldier, tells Farquhar about a nearby railroad bridge that is strategically important for the Union. Any civilian caught interfering with it, he says, will be hanged. At Farquhar's urging, however, he explains that one side of the creek that runs under it is not very well guarded, and that the bridge could easily be destroyed by fire. Instead of telling the story of Farquhar's attempt to burn the bridge, the narrative returns to the scene of the hanging. When the plank that has supported his weight is removed, Farquhar falls straight through the railroad ties of the bridge (the same bridge he had attempted to destroy) and is, Bierce writes, 'as one already dead.' He is not dead, however; he awakens after losing consciousness, aware of agonizing pains throughout his body. He falls into the rushing creek below, for the rope that his captors sought to hang him with has broken. After a long struggle, he frees his hands from the cord that tied them and is able to swim to the surface for air. Within moments, the soldiers standing on the bridge begin firing at him, but he manages to dodge their bullets and swim to shore. The rest of his escape takes him through a thick forest to a road he follows all the way to his home. He passes through the gate and sees his beautiful wife waiting for him in front of the house. Just as he reaches to touch her, he feels a blow to his neck and all goes dark. He is dead. Though his mind led him home, his body, with a broken neck, has not escaped from the noose. It hangs from the Owl Creek Bridge."
"Perhaps the most engaging and provocative technique used in the story," according to Rena Korb in Short Stories for Students, "is the blending of fantasy and reality, the mixing of the external world of death with Farquhar's internal world, which cries out for life. While some people refer to this lack of distinction as leading to a 'trick' ending, most critics (and readers) agree that Farquhar's death is apparent to anyone who pays attention to the clues.… That his escape is fantasy is also apparent numerous times throughout its enactment. Farquhar's senses are impossibly keen; he hears ripples in the water as 'separate sounds,' he is able to see the 'individual trees, the leaves and the veining of each leaf … the very insects upon them.' If this hasn't proven the true bent of the story, Bierce next shows Farquhar as inhabiting an unreal environment, one that is unnaturally eerie and devoid of people. He travels on a road 'as wide and straight as a city street, yet it seemed untraveled.' He can feel that his neck is in pain, his eyes are congested, and his tongue is swollen, yet 'he could no longer feel the roadway beneath his feet.' At this, the end of his life, he finally recognizes that the world is not that secure place where 'no adventure was too perilous' but a changing universe in which the very stars have a 'secret and malign significance.'"
Korb continues, "This blending of fantasy and reality is also used to show how each of the story's three sections demonstrates a different one of Farquhar's incorrect beliefs. In the first section, Farquhar denies what is about to happen. The use of military terminology and a factual tone convey the clinical and inescapable nature of the hanging—the sergeant 'would step aside, the plank would tilt and the condemned man go down between the ties'—yet the 'civilian' still delves into fantasy, dreaming of freeing his hands and escaping. The second part of the story, a flashback, shows Farquhar's inability to distinguish military reality with his vision of the glorious, 'larger life of the soldier.' He clearly has no experience with military tactics and allows himself to be tricked by a Federal spy into burning the railroad bridge. Though he fatally believes that he has the 'heart of a soldier,' when he doesn't even have the good sense of a soldier, he still embraces this chance at sabotage as his 'opportunity for distinction.' What Farquhar ultimately finds in war is obscurity; his yearning for a soldier's adventure has led him simply to be 'the man who was engaged in being hanged.' If the second and third sections show Farquhar's predisposition for creating fantasy, this third and last part of the story is a sort of 'living and breathing' fantasy: that of Farquhar's 'escape.' The Farquhar seen here is an improved man. He is certainly more knowledgeable than the Farquhar who let himself be tricked by the Yankees; witness his analysis of what kind of shots the troop will fire on him. The language in this last section is luxurious, with the sand of the riverbank 'like diamonds, rubies, emeralds' and the forest through which Farquhar travels full of 'whispers in an unknown tongue.' The descriptions are imaginative as is the journey that Farquhar makes to his home. And even in the moment of death, fantasy does not give way to reality. The noose tightens around his neck, but Farquhar believes he is about to clasp his wife. As the rope tightens, breaking his neck, 'he feels a stunning blow upon the back of the neck; a blinding white light blazes all about him with a sound like the shock of a cannon—then all is darkness and silence!' Once Farquhar has entered into his fantasy, nothing can vanquish it except death."
The story's surprise ending has sometimes left readers feeling cheated, as if Bierce has played a joke on them. Robert A. Wiggins in American Writers noted that readers who are surprised by the ending of Bierce's story may "feel cheated that the desperate struggle, the pursuit, the yearning toward home and family were only fantasy, the feverish imaginings of a man the instant before death. The detailed description must be revaluated not as objective reality, but as the vividness of a psychological state—the truth that the mind makes its own reality. But the reader is not cheated—not as by the surprise endings of O. Henry or Frank R. Stockton. Withholding the information here is not trickery, but a logical, calculated end to shock the reader with the realization that he has been witnessing a life-and-death struggle of some poignancy; death is the real cheat in dangling the lure of escape up to the final moment when we discover that there is no escape. This conclusion, although bitter, even cynical, logically extends the ironic theme." Charles E. May, writing in the Reference Guide to American Literature, explained that "in spite of the fact that 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge' seems merely a trick to shock the reader, Ambrose Bierce's tale of the man who imagines he has escaped hanging in the moment before he comes to the end of his rope is one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature. The story is primarily a tour de force of technique, in which the content is merely a pretext for a game Bierce plays with the conventions of narrative time and fictional endings.…The story's theme—the human need to escape death—is established by Bierce in the only way it can be, by means of the imagination, a truth that Bierce develops through an elaborate bit of fiction-making that the reader initially takes to be actuality."
Bierce is also famous for writing a number of horror and ghost stories set in the American West. "Bierce is notable for expanding and further Americanizing the settings of Gothic fiction," according to Thomas L. Wymer in Supernatural Fiction Writers, "placing his stories in the semifrontier areas of the Western Reserve; in gold-rush, mining-boom, and ghost towns farther west; and in more civilized areas like San Francisco. He developed the potentialities of psychological terror in both supernatural and natural contexts.…He was too much the skeptic to dismiss totally the possibilities of supernatural realities, a two-sided vision that leads to effective use of ambiguity in some of his best stories. Finally, this ambiguity is consistent with a pervasive irony that, combined with unsentimental urbanity and wit, gives his work an uncommon freshness and vitality." Wymer went on to state that Bierce's ghost stories "are notable not only for their occasional humor but also for their creation of eerie atmosphere." The stories "are often resolved in some variation of the convention of poetic justice, but there is usually a uniquely wry edge to his notion of justice." In "The Moonlit Road," for example, a man tests his wife's virtue by pretending to leave home for an overnight trip. When he returns late at night, he spies a man leaving his house and assumes that his wife has been unfaithful to him. He goes inside and strangles her. But his wife has not been unfaithful, the strange man was an intruder. After seeing his wife's ghost, the husband spends the rest of his life wandering in guilt until finally committing suicide.
Along with his tales of terror, Bierce's most acclaimed work is The Devil's Dictionary, a lexicon of its author's wit and animosity. His definition for "ghost"—"the outward and visible sign of an inward fear"—clarifies his fundamentally psychological approach to the supernatural. In The Devil's Dictionary Bierce vented much of his contempt for politics, religion, society, and conventional human values. Wiggins noted: "In form the entries in The Devil's Dictionary reflect a common variety of humorous satire employed in nineteenth-century journalism. From the same sources Mark Twain later drew inspiration for 'Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar.' An added similarity between these performances is their pessimistic tone. Twain's entry beginning the second chapter of Pudd'n-head Wilson would have been right at home in Bierce's dictionary: 'Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.' Bierce's definitions are, if anything, more consistently pessimistic in their view of human nature, more sardonic and savagely satirical. They surpass Wilson's aphorisms in their mordant display of wit. The difference, of course, is that Twain's were a decoration for a more important work, while Bierce's were an end in themselves. Definitions from Bierce are still quoted, or more often circulate without reference to their source. It is not a book to be read at a sitting. Rather, it is a reference work to be consulted at cynical hours, when one at first will have his mood confirmed and then gradually lightened as he contemplates opinions more jaundiced than his own."
In 1913 Bierce informed some of his correspondents that he intended to enter Mexico and join Pancho Villa's rebel forces as an observer during that country's civil war. "On December 26, 1913, the seventy-one-year-old traveler posted a letter in Chihuahua telling about his first witness of battle and his acceptance by the revolutionary forces," Wiggins reported. "This was the last word ever received from Ambrose Bierce. It seems certain that the old soldier did not die peacefully in bed. During the years that followed many obituaries appeared. Every inquiry and investigation turned up nothing but rumors about Bierce's end, but provided the occasion for another set of obituaries. The old cynic would have enjoyed the spectacle." The circumstances of Bierce's death are still uncertain.
If you enjoy the works of Ambrose Bierce, you might want to check out the following books:
Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, 1938.
Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Tale, 1894.
H. P. Lovecraft, The Tomb and Other Tales, 1969.
Biographical and Critical Sources
American Writers, Scribner (New York, NY), 1974.
Barret, Gerald R., and Thomas L. Erskine, compilers, From Fiction to Film: Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Dickenson (Encino, CA), 1973.
Berkove, Lawrence I., A Prescription for Adversity: The Moral Art of Ambrose Bierce, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH), 2002.
Bier, Jesse, The Rise and Fall of American Humor, Holt (New York, NY), 1968.
Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography: Realism, Naturalism, and Local Color, 1865-1917, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988.
Davidson, Cathy N., Critical Essays on Ambrose Bierce, G. K. Hall (Boston, MA), 1982.
Davidson, Cathy N., The Experimental Fictions of Ambrose Bierce: Structuring the Ineffable, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1984.
De Castro, Adolphe Danziger, Portrait of Ambrose Bierce, Beekman Publishers (New York, NY), 1974.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 11: American Humorists, 1800-1950, 1982, Volume 12: American Realists and Naturalists, 1982, Volume 23: American Newspaper Journalists, 1873-1900, 1983, Volume 71: American Literary Critics and Scholars, 1880-1900, 1988, Volume 74: American Short-Story Writers before 1880, 1988, Volume 186: Nineteenth-Century American Western Writers, 1997.
Fadiman, Clifton, Party of One: The Selected Writings of Clifton Fadiman, World Publishing (New York, NY), 1955.
Fatout, Paul, Ambrose Bierce: The Devil's Lexicographer, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1951.
Fatout, Paul, Ambrose Bierce and the Black Hills, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1956.
Gaer, Joseph, editor, Ambrose Gwinett Bierce: Bibliography and Biographical Data, R. West (Philadelphia, PA), 1977.
Grattan, C. Hartley, Bitter Bierce, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1929.
Grenander, M. E., Ambrose Bierce, Twayne (New York, NY), 1971.
Hall, Carroll D., Bierce and the Poe Hoax, Book Club of California (San Francisco, CA), 1934.
Joshi, S. T., The Weird Tale: Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Ambrose Bierce, H. P. Lovecraft, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1990.
Literature and Its Times: Profiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them, Volume 2: Civil Wars to Frontier Societies (1800-1880s), Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
McWilliams, Carey, Ambrose Bierce: A Biography, Albert & Charles Boni (New York, NY), 1929.
Mencken, H. L., Prejudices: Sixth Series, Knopf (New York, NY), 1927.
Morrill, Sibley S., Ambrose Bierce, F. A. Mitchell-Hedges, and the Crystal Skull, Cadleon Press (San Francisco, CA), 1972.
Morris, Roy, Jr., Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1995.
O'Connor, Richard, Ambrose Bierce: A Biography, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1967.
Reference Guide to American Literature, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Reference Guide to Short Fiction, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Rubin, Louis D., Jr., editor, The Comic Imagination in American Literature, Quinn & Boden, 1973.
Saunders, Richard, Ambrose Bierce: The Making of a Misanthrope, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1985.
Short Stories for Students, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Short Story Criticism, Volume 9, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Sidney-Fryer, Donald, editor, A Vision of Doom: Poems by Ambrose Bierce, Donald M. Grant, 1980.
Starrett, Vincent, Buried Caesars: Essays in Literary Appreciation, Covici-McGee, 1923.
Starrett, Vincent, Ambrose Bierce: A Bibliography, Centaur Book Shop (Philadelphia, PA), 1929.
Sterling, George, In the Midst of Life, Modern Library (New York, NY), 1927.
Superntaural Fiction Writers, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003.
Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, 1978, Volume 7, 1982, Volume 44, 1992.
Wagenknecht, Edward, editor, The Stories and Fables of Ambrose Bierce, Stemmer House, 1977.
Walker, Franklin, San Francisco's Literary Frontier, Knopf (New York, NY), 1939.
Wiggins, Robert A., Ambrose Bierce, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1964.
Woodruff, Stuart C., The Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce: A Study in Polarity, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1964.
World Literature Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
American Literary Realism, 1870-1910, fall, 1967, Paul Fatout, "Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)," pp. 13-19; winter, 1971, John C. Stubbs, "Ambrose Bierce's Contributions to Cosmopolitan: An Annotated Bibliography," pp. 57-59; spring, 1981, Lawrence I. Berkove, "'A Strange Adventure:' The Story Behind a Bierce Tale," pp. 70-76; spring, 1983, Philip M. Rubens and Robert Jones, "Ambrose Bierce: A Bibliographic Essay and Bibliography," pp. 73-91; autumn, 1984, M. E. Grenander, "'Five Blushes, Ten Shudders and a Vomit:' Mark Twain on Ambrose Bierce's Nuggets and Dust," pp. 169-179.
Book Club of California Quarterly News Letter, fall, 1951, Paul Fatout, "Ambrose Bierce Writes about War," pp. 75-79.
Book Collector, autumn, 1971, M. E. Grenander, "Ambrose Bierce and In the Midst of Life," pp. 321-331.
Huntington Library Quarterly, August, 1965, M. E. Grenander, "Ambrose Bierce, John Camden Hotten, The Fiend's Delight, and Nuggets and Dust," pp. 353-371; autumn, 1981, Lawrence I. Berkove, "Two Impossible Dreams: Ambrose Bierce on Utopia and America," pp. 283-292.
Journal of Popular Culture, fall, 1981, Lawrence I. Berkove, "The Man with the Burning Pen: Ambrose Bierce as Journalist," pp. 34-40.
Markham Review, fall, 1982, Cathy N. Davidson, "Re-Structuring the Ineffable and Ambrose Bierce's 'The Secret of Macarger's Gulch,'" pp. 14-19.
Nyctalops, Volume 2, number 7, 1978, pp. 29-31.
Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Number 72, 1978, M. E. Grenander, "California's Albion: Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Tom Hood, John Camden Hotten, and Andrew Chatto," pp. 455-475.
Western Humanities Review, Volume 31, 1977, pp. 173-180.