The Devil’s Dictionary

The Devil’s Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

The Devil’s Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce. Originally published in 1906 as The Cynic’s Word Book, it features Bierce’s witty and often ironic spin on many common English words.

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Following the Equator

Following the Equator

Mark Twain

Following The Equator is a travel book from Mark Twain, published in 1897. It came about after a tour he made of the British Empire, and includes biting and witty observations, criticising racism, imperialism and missionaries. Fully illustrated, each chapter starts with a ‘Pudd’nhead maxim’, which are ironic wisdoms from the Twain character ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson’. Here’s an example; ‘Names are not always what they seem. The common Welsh…

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The Innocents Abroad

The Innocents Abroad

Mark Twain

Based on a series of letters Mark Twain wrote from Europe to newspapers in San Francisco and New York as a roving correspondent, The Innocents Abroad (1869) is a burlesque of the sentimental travel books popular in the mid-nineteenth century.

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Letters from the Earth

Letters from the Earth

Mark Twain

Letters from the Earth is one of Mark Twain’s posthumously published works. The essays were written during a difficult time in Twain’s life; he was deep in debt and had lost his wife and one of his daughters. The content concerns morality and religion and strikes a sarcastic tone throughout. A humourous read; he tears apart religion and the Bible via a series of ‘letters’.

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A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick, commonly referred to as A Modest Proposal, is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies…

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Only a Ghost!

Only a Ghost!

Sabine Baring-Gould

Writing under the pseudonym Irenaeus the Deacon, Baring-Gould’s humorous observations on the various Christian sects to be found in “the most learned church in the most religious country in the world” (i.e., London in 1870) contains a challenge to Christians of today to focus on the substance of faith rather than the forms of public worship.

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A Tramp Abroad

A Tramp Abroad

Mark Twain

A Tramp Abroad, published in 1880, is Mark Twain’s second travel book, a sequel to his immensely popular The Innocents Abroad. Here Twain returns to Europe in the company of a genial “goad, guide, and all-purpose straight man” modeled on his friend and real-life traveling companion, Joe Twitchell. The eccentric journey they take through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and other countries constantly…

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What Is Man? And Other Stories

What Is Man? And Other Stories

Mark Twain

A collection of stories from the master of wit and sarcasm. Includes: What Is Man?; The Death Of Jean; The Turning-Point Of My Life; How To Make History Dates Stick; The Memorable Assassination; A Scrap Of Curious History; Switzerland, The Cradle Of Liberty; At The Shrine Of St. Wagner; William Dean Howells; English As She Is Taught; A Simplified Alphabet; As Concerns Interpreting The Deity; Concerning Tobacco…

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