Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hoosier Reading

     Our native and imported Indiana writers are a mixed lot but many are markedly cynical.  Few have had as sharp a tongue as (Indiana-raised, for all that he was born a Buckeye) Ambrose Bierce.

      I've been reading Bierce's Write It Right, which is cheap or free for the Kindle. It's a list of misuses and abuses of English in his typical style, acerbic to the point of acidulousness. The book is fun, though it is a creature of its time (very late 19th century through early 20th) and of Bierce's own quirks, so it can hardly be taken as an absolute guide.

     He was capable of weapons-grade snark.  When critic William Dean Howells said, "Mr. Bierce is among our three greatest writers," Bierce wrote, "I am sure Mr. Howells is the other two." Ouch.

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