Before he trailed off into the wilds of Mexico, never to be heard from again, Ambrose Bierce achieved a public persona as "bitter Bierce" and "the devil's lexicographer." He left behind a nasty reputation and more than ninety short stories that are perfect expressions of his sardonic genius. Brought together in this volume, these stories represent an unprecedented accomplishment in American literature. In their iconoclasm and needle-sharp irony, their formal and thematic ingenuity and element of surprise, they differ markedly from the fiction admired in Bierce's time. Readers familiar with the classic An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge will want to turn to Bierce's other Civil War stories. Also included here are his horror stories, among them The Death of Halpin Frayser and The Damned Thing, and such tall tales as Oil of Dog and A Cargo of Cat.
In her foreword, Cathy N. Davidson, author of The Experimental Fictions of Ambrose Bierce, shows that Bierce, in form and mood, left behind the writers of his time and anticipated those of our own.