Ambrose Bierce as fabulist: controlling the moment

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Title: Ambrose Bierce as fabulist: controlling the moment
Author: Ingham, Donna Sue Christopher
Abstract: This is a study of Ambrose Gwinett Bierce (1842 -1914 ? ) , a journalist , satirist , and fiction writer during the last three decades of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century . As part of his narrative output , he turned to fables and produced over 300 of them , attracted to the fable form apparently because it offered him a medium for control of style , tone , and reader response . The control motif is incorporated thematically in many of the fables as well . Yet the control may be , and generally is , only for the moment : the rhetorical moment , the historical moment , or , perhaps , the epiphanic moment . As a preliminary to an analysis of Bierce's use of the fable , this study begins with an attempt to identify the generally accepted characteristics of the fable , especially as the form has come down to us through representative written literature of Western civilization since the Middle Ages . The study then proceeds to examine Bierce's fables as devices for controlling a moment and to compare the fables with his invective satire and his short stories , in particular . The concluding section examines Bierce's use of the fable in contrast with two other nineteenth -century fabulists , Joel Chandler Harris and George Ade , and suggests that Bierce's techniques anticipated those of three twentieth -century fabulists , James Thurber , William March , and Robert Coover . The study is organized into five chapters : (1 ) Introduction ; (2 ) Fable : A Definition , synthesizing and distilling definitions from dictionaries , glossaries , and the works of fabulists themselves ; (3 ) Ambrose Bierce : A Fabulist , exploring Bierce's own definition of fable and his satiric use of the fable ; (4 ) Control : A Constant , suggesting that certain techniques or themes present in the fables are present in other Bierce works ; and (5 ) Summary and Significance , contrasting Bierce as fabulist with two of his contemporaries and comparing him with three twentieth - century fabulists he anticipated .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13043
Date: 1992-05


Ingham, Donna Sue Christopher Ambrose Bierce as fabulist: controlling the moment. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /13043 .

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