BIERCE, AMBROSE. (1842-1914?). American satirist, journalist, and short-story writer. CS. (“Ambrose Bierce”). ½p. Small 4to. N.p., N.d. Bierce’s signature on an unnumbered limitation page (25), possibly a variant of the one finally used in the Author’s Edition of The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce published by The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912. Signed in pencil.
Bierce’s macabre stories reflect the adventure and mystery of his turbulent life. A Civil War veteran, Bierce settled in San Francisco, where his satirical and scathing observations soon appeared in several newspapers, including William Randolph Hearst’s influential San Francisco Examiner. During the next several decades, while working for Hearst, Bierce became one of the leading journalists of his time. Stints in London and Washington further enhanced his reputation as a writer of great precision and wit. By 1909, Bierce, who had resigned from Hearst’s employ the previous year, was back in Washington, where he edited his Collected Works (1909-1912). Though he toyed with the idea of returning to California, “It would have been difficult… to detach himself from Washington and particularly from the bar of the Army and Navy Club,” where out-of-town friends “always looked in first and usually found him holding forth in the bar,” (Ambrose Bierce: A Biography, O’Connor). Nevertheless, the following April, Bierce set off for California via the Panama Canal. By October 1913 he was in Mexico, claiming to be in search of the notorious Francisco “Pancho” Villa and his rebel band. It was a journey from which he never returned and his disappearance remains the final mystery of a colorful career. In excellent condition.