Read Ghost and Horror Stories by Ambrose Bierce Free Online
Book Title: Ghost and Horror Stories|
The author of the book: Ambrose Bierce
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.32 MB
Edition: Peter Smith Publisher
Date of issue: January 1st 1987
ISBN 13: 9780844604930
Read full description of the books:all hail Ambrose Bierce! an American original. aka "Bitter Bierce" - a soldier, government agent, journalist, short story writer, satirist, social critic. his life bookended by two wars: at age 19 in the American Civil War (most notably, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh) and at age 71 as a witness to Pancho Villa's revolutionary efforts in Mexico (most notably... vanishing without a trace).
gaze upon the dapper don:
Bierce was a misanthrope of the first order and his scornful critiques of anything he damn well felt like criticizing earned him a lifetime of disapprobation. even after his disappearance from public life as he transformed into an immortal vampire during his sojourn in Mexico, critics from all corners continued to make a pastime of publicly spanking Bierce and his legacy. indeed, the very introduction to this collection - written by some mean, spiteful jerk named E.F. Bleiler - practically wallows in the idea that Bierce was a mean, spiteful jerk whose short stories are barely worthy of attention.
sadly enough, Bleiler is somewhat correct regarding the majority of this collection's stories. Bierce has an exceedingly idiosyncratic and mannered prose style that can be both pleasurable and frustrating, particularly as that style is often informed by a sneering, disdainful, nastily sarcastic perspective and a tone that is all mordantly stylized lugubriousness. when those elements come together in service of a mediocre narrative, the experience can be soporific at best and at worst, unbearable.
but happily the collection also contains a handful of superlative stories that range from disturbingly bizarre (in the best sort of way) to disturbingly brilliant.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is - possibly because of its film adaptations - Bierce's most well-known piece of fiction. this hallucinatory story of a Civil War-era Southerner about to hang is a haunting and darkly beautiful classic. plus Bierce's malicious sarcasm is notably absent, replaced with a dreamy but slightly bitter sort of lyricism.
Moxon's Master must have been channeled by the equally infernal Thomas Ligotti because it contains all of that author's ideas around the working man = a cog in a sinister machine, within a brief story that is mainly comprised of menacing, barely explicated innuendo.
Some Haunted Houses is less of a story collection and more of a journalistic account of various, wait for it, haunted houses. these are some really creepy houses. in particular, the portrait of a house that contains a secret otherworldly room where dozens of families have been trapped and died stuck with me. bad dreams that night!
The Man and the Snake is one of the more intense depictions of WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON that I've read in the classic horror genre. why is this man hypnotized? what is that snake? what is happening to him, how is this happening? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?
An Adventure at Brownville... yikes, that sardonic title. "Adventure"... well, I guess we all have our own individual ideas about what constitutes "an adventure." this one is about an urbane teacher who witnesses the malevolent, sexual-romantic hypnotic attraction that a tall, dark, and handsome fellow exerts over a pair of attractive sisters. the teacher tries to help the young ladies. tries. disturbing, disturbing, disturbing.
An Inhabitant of Carcosa, along with several stories in Robert Chambers' The King in Yellow, are the seeds from which the Weird Fiction of Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith et al sprang. to my mind, when he is operating at his highest level, Bierce is one of the most successful writers of eerie hallucinogenic prose. this is another short short - less than 4 pages! - and it is perfect from beginning to end, not a word out of place. the only thing out of place is our sickly protagonist, stranded... elsewhere. or elsewhen.
The Death of Halpin Frayser is my favorite of the collection. it is beyond strange. a unique and uniquely unsettling story. poor Halpin, a fellow not free of certain incestuous longings, shanghaied by sailors, now content to wander woods and sleep in the open air, a poet from an older tradition, a dreamer who dreams of a bloody forest. there is his mother, and the terrible thing that happened to her. there are two investigators, on the trail of a killer, who stumble upon the body of poor Halpin. and there is the undead mother; she has found her boy at last...
Bierce's gems are more than worth the price of admission - and if you check out Project Gutenberg, that price is FREE. many are great snapshots of an era gone long by, often set in recognizable locales like Ole San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. and the best of these stories are ones that can really stick with the appreciative reader and that are told with such dry wit, such wonderfully challenging prose, such chilling creeping ambiguity.
Read information about the authorAmbrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842-1914) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary.
The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce."
Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow.
Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events.
Bierce disappeared in December 1913. He is believed to have traveled to Mexico to gain a firsthand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution.
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