THE YEAR HAS BEEN AN EXCITING ONE for readers and scholars of Ambrose Bierce. In 2006, Bierce and his work made substantial inroads into the realm of popular culture. Print magazines and newspapers informed audiences about his rich and sometimes mysterious life, while filmmakers adapted his Civil War stories for the big screen. Scholarly inquiry into Bierce’s art has similarly thrived over the last twelve months. Academic conferences around the globe featured papers on the fiction, nonfiction, and satirical writings of the soldier-turned-journalist. Moreover, students and future scholars have continued to engage Bierce in the classroom. Here at the ABP, we have heard from numerous undergraduates and graduate students, many of whom have chosen Bierce as the subject of their theses and dissertations.
Such apprentice work will benefit enormously from new scholarship published during the last year. Three months ago, the University of Tennessee Press brought out two important and long-anticipated works. The first, David M. Owens’s The Devil's Topographer: Ambrose Bierce and the American War Story, examines the complex relationship between Bierce the soldier and Bierce the writer. The second is the three-volume Short Fiction of Ambrose Bierce: A Comprehensive Edition, edited by S. T. Joshi, Lawrence I. Berkove, and David E. Schultz. On its own, each work considers the writer’s legacy within American letters, and especially within the genre of short fiction. Together, these projects have the potential to enlarge the scope of Bierce studies significantly, shedding new light on familiar and forgotten texts alike.
In the same spirit, this issue of the ABP Journal features four new essays intent on exploring the legacy of Bierce. Diverse in subject, these articles confront—among other matters—the writer’s views on racial and gender politics, his relationship to collective psychology, and his role in the development of both literary modernism and a tradition of satirical writing. This issue also offers book reviews of the two new publications named above, as well as reviews of three other books whose themes and subjects will be of interest to Biercians.
Readers will also note that this issue contains an online version of Robert C. Evans’s 2003 Annotated Critical Edition of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” An outstanding resource and an impressive work of critical pluralism, the edition will be of great use to teachers and students of Bierce’s best-known story. This spring, the ABP will add the edition to its Resources page, along with its fifth and final chapter: a line-by-line analysis of "Owl Creek Bridge." We wish to thank Evans, and his collaborators and publisher, for sharing the work with us.
The ABP and ABP Journal have now reached the one-year mark, and I want to again thank all those individuals whose efforts and insights have made the undertaking possible. The Advisory Board continues to assist cheerfully during the peer-review process, a fact for which we are extremely grateful. Likewise, our colleagues at NINES deserve a good deal of thanks: not only for support and guidance, but also for their technical assistance in making the site fully searchable via the NINES Collex.
Most importantly, I wish to recognize the students who have worked tirelessly to develop the resources of the ABP. During the summer months, Jennifer Haight prepared the electronic text for dozens of Bierce short stories and several full collections. Her efforts were followed during the fall semester by Tracie Kendziora, who exhibited a tremendous work ethic and a nearly uncanny attention to detail while serving as managing editor of the journal. My colleagues in the English Program at Penn State Erie join me in wishing Jenn and Tracie much success in all their future endeavors.
CRAIG A. WARREN
Editor, The Ambrose Bierce Project
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College