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Ambrose Bierce's Life & Fiction

The event in Ambrose Bierce's life that has come to dominate it is his leaving of it because of the mystery involved with his disappearance into Mexico. This event has also obscured his writings to a great degree, and even those writings that have continued to have some currency have usually not been tied to Bierce's life to any degree beyond an indication that he was a misanthrope and that this is evident in his works. His life in California and elsewhere in the West, however, has quite obviously been incorporated into a number of his stories, which tell of odd occurrences and ghostly happenings in the setting of mining country. The even that had probably the most profound influence on his writing was the Civil Warm, and he wrote a number of stories of that conflict, often combining his interest in the supernatural with stories of those who died during that national conflict.

Bierce was associated with California because that is where he wrote most of his works and where many of those works are set, though he was born in Ohio and grew up in Indiana. His parents were very religious, while young Bierce thought little of religion. the hero of the family was General Lucius Verus Bierce, and Ambrose had a particular relationship with this military figure. The boy left home when he was 15 and thereafter returned only to visit. He worked first as a printer's devil for a newly established newspaper, the Northern Indianan, and after that he spent time at a military school. When the Civil War broke out, he was among the first to volunteer in the Ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteers (Wiggins 6-8).

Bierce started over in a career in journalism beginning in 1887 in Oakland, writing a column for a Hearst paper, the San Francisco Examiner. His work on that column left him with a good deal of time on his hands, and he decided to devote his spare time to writing short fiction using the Civil War as the background. His experience in the...

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Ambrose Bierce's Life & Fiction. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:20, May 29, 2023, from