Ambrose Bierce

Article

July 6, 2022

Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (Meigs County, Ohio, June 24, 1842 - Mexico, 1914?) American writer, journalist. Along with Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe and Varlam Salamov, he wrote the darkest pages in world literature.

His life

He started working at the age of fifteen, after two years he studied at the Kentucky Military School, and in 1861 he joined the Civil War army on the side of the North. He was promoted several times. He was once captured by the southerners, but escaped. It was decommissioned at the end of the civil war. In 1866, he participated in a military expedition to the Wild West, then he was a night watchman in San Francisco. After that, he started journalism. From 1868 he worked for various newspapers. His first short story was published in 1871. He married in 1871 and a year later they moved to London, where his first volume was published (under a pseudonym): The Fiend's Delight. In 1873, his second volume, Nuggets and Dust, was published, then in 1875, the third, entitled Cobwebs from an Empty Skull. He then returned to the United States. In the following years he worked as a journalist. He left his family in 1888. His volume of fictional stories, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, was published in 1891. In 1893, his book of supernatural stories Can Such Things Be? (Can such things happen?) was published. His next volume was Fantastic Fables. His volume The Shadow on the Dial and Other Essays was published in 1909, and his collected works between 1909 and 1912. Two of his sons died while he was still alive: one committed suicide due to a love affair, the other from alcohol poisoning. In 1913, he traveled to Mexico during the civil war, where he was soon lost.

Disappearance

In a letter sent to a friend at the end of May 1913, he said: he intends to go to Mexico, because "thank God something is happening" there, and he mentioned that he might also go to South America. He arrived in New Orleans on October 24, then repeated in an interview that he had stopped writing and was going to South America. Mexico was also mentioned, and when asked why he wanted to go there, he replied that he liked the "game" and wanted to see it. By game, he meant the Mexican Revolution. Later he also wrote somewhere that "I want to go down and see if these Mexicans shoot straight." He went through San Antonio to Laredo on the border, where he entrusted his writing against the William Randolph Hearst to the safekeeping of a hotel owner. he spoke out against, for whose paper he also worked as a journalist. At the end of November, he crossed the border, but not at Laredo, but at El Paso to Ciudad Juárez. Some say he had a letter of authorization to see the revolutionary camp, but none of them, nor any of his journalist colleagues who were there, seem to remember seeing Bierce. It is also said that he was present at the Battle of Tierra Blanca, and even that he fought in it: he is said to have shot a Huertista soldier, and for that reason he received a sombrero as a gift from the revolutionaries. Meanwhile, however, he did not have a good opinion of the leader of the revolutionaries, Pancho Villa, saying that Villa was just a "bandit of no particular importance". He is said to have arrived in the city of Chihuahua on December 16 with $1,500, but the journalists there do not remember seeing him either. There is an account that he sent a letter to his nephew's wife on December 26, in which he reported that trains full of soldiers were leaving Chihuahua every day, and also wrote that he thought dying of old age or disease was much worse than, say, being put up against a wall in Mexico and turned into rags. I would shoot. “Being American in Mexico: