[After viewing the film “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” in middle school, I became fascinated with Ambrose Bierce, and have been ever since. Regular readers of this blog will know that I often excerpt from The Devil’s Dictionary. The squib below is from a rejection of Bierce’s collection of short stories, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, which the Grolier Club named “one of the 100 most influential books printed before 1900….”]
“…uniformly horrible and revolting. Told with some power, and now and then with strokes of wonderfully vivid description, with plots ingenious in their terror and photographic in their sickening details, we must pronounce the book too brutal to be either good art or good literature. It is the triumph of realism–realism without power or symbolism.”
Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.