Ambrose Bierce became a man during the Civil War. He enlisted before he was 20 and saw action from the very beginning. He fought at the battle of Shiloh in 1862 and was wounded in the head two years later. After the conflict, Bierce traded his musket for a pen and wrote some of the most biting satire of the age.
In his humorous Devil's Dictionary, in which he sought to expose selfishness and egotism, Bierce fixated on a concept that was particularly important to his era: Providence. He defined appetite, for instance, as "an instinct thoughtfully implanted by Providence as a solution to the labor problem." When it came time to define providential, Bierce explained it as "unexpectedly and conspicuously beneficial to the person so describing it."
Gary Dorrien on Occupy Wall Street, Benjamin J. Dueholm on the post-Wobegon upper Midwest, James F. McGrath on Jesus mythicism.
Sep 24, 2015
Photographer Toni Greaves first visited the Dominican Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, in 2008. She was accompanying a writer working on an article about how nuns were using the Internet to promote their communities. Greaves was so taken by the vibrant life she saw in the monastery that she visited the place repeatedly over the next seven years and documented one sister’s journey toward final vows. Greaves’s book of images, Radical Love, came out last month (New York Times, September 5).