Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,710,190 articles and books

Author's Preface 



The Devil's Dictionary was begun in a weekly paper in 1881, and was
continued in a desultory way at long intervals until 1906. In that
year a large part of it was published in covers with the title The
Cynic's Word Book
, a name which the author had not the power to
reject or happiness to approve. To quote the publishers of the
present work:


"This more reverent title had previously been forced upon him by
the religious scruples of the last newspaper in which a part of the
work had appeared, with the natural consequence that when it came out
in covers the country already had been flooded by its imitators with a
score of 'cynic' books -- The Cynic's This, The Cynic's That, and

The Cynic's t'Other. Most of these books were merely stupid, though
some of them added the distinction of silliness. Among them, they
brought the word 'cynic' into disfavor so deep that any book bearing
it was discredited in advance of publication."


Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the country
had helped themselves to such parts of the work as served their needs,
and many of its definitions, anecdotes, phrases and so forth, had
become more or less current in popular speech. This explanation is
made, not with any pride of priority in trifles, but in simple denial
of possible charges of plagiarism, which is no trifle. In merely
resuming his own the author hopes to be held guiltless by those to
whom the work is addressed -- enlightened souls who prefer dry wines
to sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to humor and clean English to slang.


A conspicuous, and it is hope not unpleasant, feature of the book
is its abundant illustrative quotations from eminent poets, chief of
whom is that learned and ingenius cleric, Father Gassalasca Jape,
S.J., whose lines bear his initials. To Father Jape's kindly
encouragement and assistance the author of the prose text is greatly
indebted.


A.B.





Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters