Ambrose Bierce's delightfully sardonic The Enlarged Devil’s Dictionary continues to amuse, even an entire century after Bierce disappeared without a trace while covering the Mexican Revolution. Likewise Film Noir is a movie genre that, like fine wine, seems to only improve with age. Given the inherent darkness in both Bierce's book and Noir, we thought it might be interesting to juxtapose the two.
“BRIDE, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her."
“CHILDHOOD, n. The period of human life, intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth—two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.”
“DANDY, n. One who professes a singularity of opinion with regard to his own merits, accentuating his eccentricity with clothes.”
“FAMOUS, adj. Conspicuously miserable."
“GRAMMAR, n. A system of pitfalls thoughtfully prepared for the feet of the self-made man, along with the path by which he advances to distinction."
“INHUMANITY, n. One of the signal and characteristic qualities of humanity.”
“INSURANCE, n. An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the comfortable conviction that he is beating the table."
“LOVE, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder."
“MISFORTUNE, n. The kind of fortune that never misses."
“NEIGHBOR, n. One whom we are commanded to love as ourselves, and who does all he knows how to make us disobedient."
“PRINCE, n. A young gentleman who, in romance, bestows his affections on a peasant girl, and in real life, on his friends’ wives.”
“SUCCESS, n. The one unpardonable sin against one’s fellows."