Ambrose Bierce was an American writer and columnist who became popular during the latter half of the 19th century He wrote extensively of his time in the American Civil War, and his works include poetry, essays, and short stories. Bierce's cynical outlook and dark wit made him one of the period's pre-eminent writers. He is perhaps best known for his short story collection, The Devil's Dictionary, which contains humorous definitions and critiques of contemporary society.
The best examples of Ambrose Bierce's work include:
1. "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge": This short story is often cited as the most famous of Bierce's works, and is included in many classic and modern anthologies. It tells the story of Peyton Farquhar, a Southern sympathizer who is sentenced to be hanged from a bridge over Owl Creek. As he is being executed, he has a strange experience in which he appears to escape. The story is known for its vivid and dream-like imagery, and for its poignant ending.
2. The Devil's Dictionary: This collection of humorous definitions and critiques of language, society and the world is Bierce's most famous work. He offered witty and cutting observations on topics such as marriage, government, religion, etiquette and the English language. His biting wit is still relevant today and his definitions are often used in modern parlance.
3. "The Damned Thing": This short horror story tells the tale of a hunting party that is stalked and killed by an unseen creature. It is known for its unsettling imagery and its unpredictable ending. It has often been cited as an influence on authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King.
4. "The Strategy of the Falcon": This short story is set in the aftermath of the American Civil War and follows a Union spy as he works to uncover a Confederate plot. It is an intricate tale of espionage, strategy and courage, and is thought to be partially based on Bierce's own experiences during the war.
5. "The Moonlit Road": This is one of Bierce's most popular ghost stories. It is set in the rural South and follows a man as he recounts a terrifying experience he had as a child. The story is known for its eerie atmosphere and for its examination of memory and fear.