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May 1961

The Devil's Dictionary

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(5):797-798. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620050163034

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For some sensitive souls the vast amount of evil in the world is so appalling that it seems to dislodge their underpinning and set them adrift on a sea of the bleakest, blackest pessimism. Perhaps the least surprising thing about Ambrose Bierce was the fact that in 1913 when he was 71 years old he took off for Mexico as he said "with a pretty definite purpose, which, however, is not at present disclosable." This was the last that was ever heard of him. Presumably his trip was suicidal. The history of mankind tells of a number of people on whom the pressures of the world bore so heavily that they made efforts to flee it. Some apparently succeed in establishing a new foothold, as Gaugin did; but others vanished utterly—spurlos gesenkt.

The Dover Press has reissued The Devil's Dictionary as a paperback with a satanic red cover and

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