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Portrait of Ambrose Bierce.

William B. Bean, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(6):857-859. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860120169029.
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Ever since reading the "Devil's Dictionary" and feeling its power of black bile turned into vitriol, I have been curious to know something more about Ambrose Bierce. He seemed such an incarnation of misanthropy that I wondered whether he had always been "sick with the sad leavings of the sterile sea." Had he developed his increasingly corroding rancor through some real or fancied injury done his spirit in the course of his life of editorial peregrinations and critical acerbity? When I was in California around the middle of 1964, I found in Howells, a really enchanting secondhand bookstore, a book entitled "Portrait of Ambrose Bierce." It is a remarkable book. Bierce and de Castro once were collaborators in a writing enterprise. The biography is a combination of fawning adulation and a chip on the shoulder attitude—the hurt feeling of the spanked child. Apparently de Castro was too overwhelmed by his


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