Bloomsbury £7.99 (171pp) (free p&p) from 0870 079 8897
The Devil's Dictionary, By Ambrose Bierce and Ralph Steadman
Friday 31 October 2008
Bile flowed in the veins of this restless moralist, who disappeared mysteriously in 1913.
His mordant definitions retain their pointed hilarity a century on. From "Kilt, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland" to "Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance", Bierce will have you nodding and laughing, often simultaneously. The one thing you won't find is "Platitude, n. A jellyfish withering on the shore of thought." Ralph Stead-man's eruptive drawings embellish such definitions as "fool", "quixotic", "abnormal", "mad" and "editor".
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