Tag Archives: ambrose bierce

The Dastard’s Dictionary: Biographical Section

Every good dictionary needs a biographical section (even if Ambrose Bierce left it out of his).

Alighieri, Dante. Author of The Divine Comedy. Discovered gravity before Isaac Newton, though neither of them was aware of the fact.

Austen, Jane. Author of Pride and Prejudice. Her intellect terrified people of her own day; her fans terrify people of this one.

Brontë, Charlotte or Emily or Anne or Patrick. Some of them were authors of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. To determine precisely which ones, consult an encyclopedia or an English professor.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Author of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Usually very good at writing bad fiction: the Sherlock stories were the exception. They have endured as a sign of the English public’s permanent shock.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Author of (rather odd) poetry; also a leading Transcendentalist. Believed to have inspired the “Where’s Waldo” books by remaining in a permanent state of confusion.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Author of The Scarlet Letter. A remarkably happy and positive person when rendered unconscious.

Homer. Author of The Iliad and The Odyssey. There is doubt as to whether Homer really existed. But even if he did not, he managed to annoy Plato and therefore deserves our admiration.

Kafka, Franz. Author of “The Metamorphosis.” A strong opponent of smashing large bugs.

Lewis, C. S. Author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Middle-named “Staples” by his parents, leading psychologists to conclude that naming your child after office supplies may cause him to go by his initials.

MacDonald, George. Author of Phantastes, Lilith, and a number of children’s fairy stories. According to C.S. Lewis, guilty of baptizing the imagination of innocent atheists.

Morris, William. Author of The Well at the World’s End. Otherwise known for his obsession with socialism and/or household furniture.

O’Connor, Flannery. Author of Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away, and assorted short stories which have been confusing innocent churchgoers for the past fifty years.

Poe, Edgar Allan. Best known for his horror stories. He wrote no novels—fortunately.

Shakespeare, William. Author of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and so on. Incurred the eternal wrath of J.R.R. Tolkien by suggesting that elves were small and funny.

Stoker, Bram. Author of Dracula. Indirectly responsible for the Twilight series, and as such deserves the eternal opprobrium of every civilized person.

Thoreau, Henry David. Author of Walden, a book-length explanation of how the author was able to live in the woods for two years because his mother did his laundry.

Tolkien, J.R.R. Author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Believed to be the reason for a rise in pacifism among literary critics, many of whom concluded that if Elvish resulted from long hours in the trenches, trenches must be banned.

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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Humor


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The Dastard’s Dictionary: Literary Edition

For those familiar with Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary (an online version is located here), this is my attempt–librarian style.

1024px-Nouveau_Dictionnaire_Larousse_pageAdult, n. Someone under the delusion of having grown up. This delusion usually develops in conjunction with a teenage effort to extend one’s curfew.

Adult fiction, n. Adult fictions may be found in three categories–that the grass on the other side is greener, that money grows on trees, and that cats are nice creatures.

Book burning, n. 1. The enraged reader’s final recourse. 2. The enraged non-reader’s first recourse. 3. What some Divergent fans want to do to Allegiant.

Censorship, n. 1. Ship sent ahead of the fleet to locate torpedoes. 2. The humane alternative to book burning.

Contradiction, n. When the features of a situation are opposed to one another. Example: The librarian shelved The Brother’s Grimm in the children’s section.

Fantasy, n. 1. The reason people repeatedly vote in presidential elections. 2. The attempts of some authors to simultaneously show multiple layers of reality while rearranging aspects of reality. See contradiction.

Fiction, n. This word is imaginary.

Genre, n. The cell block in which similar books are imprisoned.

Graphic novel, n. Cheating.

Intellectual freedom, n. The right of six-year-olds to read things that only interest their elders.

Library, n. A place where one goes to steal DVDs. Libraries own printed books, which are not as worthwhile to steal, and some also have e-books, which cannot be stolen at all.

Mystery, n. A literary genre explicitly designed to confuse the reader. Psychologists have attempted to explain the value of truthfulness to mystery writers, but without success.

Nonfiction, n. Boring, with the exceptions of tell-all memoirs, which should also be destroyed, but for different reasons. See book burning.

Oxymoron, n. A contradiction in terms, as in the phrase “a serious work of fiction.”

Pleasure, n. 1. An excuse for reading poor fiction. 2. A reason for reading good fiction. See oxymoron.

Reading, n. This phenomenon is most commonly associated with one’s Facebook feed. Prolonged reading requires concentration, which may cause furrows to appear in the forehead, and is generally discouraged for cosmetic reasons.

Romance, n. The literary genre in which bad titles result in higher library circulation.

Thriller, n. Genre designed to increase adrenaline while one slouches on the sofa.

Western, n. A literary genre frequently written and read by people who have never ridden a horse. See wish fulfillment.

Wish fulfillment, n. Achievable by fairy godmother.

Young adult, n. An adolescent under the delusion that he is growing up, but ought to be treated as if he had grown up already. That this is strictly a delusion was made clear by the marketing of Twilight as young adult fiction.

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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Humor


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