LAST YEAR’S ISSUE of the ABP Journal featured articles by trained historians whose views on Bierce reflected their knowledge of the American Civil War and its memory. While historical contexts continue to be of importance to our present issue, those contexts extend far beyond the events and memories of 1861-1865. Indeed, the 2008 issue –“Ghosts and Time” – concerns American culture, politics, journalism, and literary history from the antebellum period through the turn of the century.
Paul Juhasz explores Bierce’s complex handling of Time in an extensive article titled “No Matter What the Actual Hour May Be.” Noting Bierce’s interest in Time as “a structuring agent and as a thematic focus of fiction,” Juhasz examines numerous stories, both famous and obscure. His thorough readings and well-grounded conclusions will help readers situate Bierce in connection to literary Modernism. Bridget M. Marshall has contributed our first-ever pedagogical essay, in which she explains why Bierce’s “The Boarded Window” is an outstanding choice for the college literature classroom. Analyzing the story’s textual variants no less than its mysterious plot, she demonstrates how this text can help students learn the value of close reading. This issue also reprints a chapter from Daniel Lindley’s 1999 work, Ambrose Bierce Takes on the Railroad, one of the few books in recent years to explore Bierce as a journalist. Lindley argues for a reconsideration of Bierce’s fiction in light of his career as a columnist, and he presents Bierce as a precursor to the muckrakers of the early twentieth century. We here publish Chapter Eight, “The Funding Bill and Beyond.”
Beyond these entries, the issue also includes two book reviews and a music review of the concept album An Occurrence Remembered by the musician Lorin Morgan-Richards. Finally, we include the complete online, annotated edition of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” edited by Robert C. Evans. The first half of this critical edition appeared in our 2006 issue, and we are delighted to now present the full text. Evans and his students spent years creating the line-by-line analysis of Bierce’s most famous story (see Chapter V). I believe that readers the world over will benefit from the edition: it demonstrates the virtues of critical pluralism and illustrates how an array of theoretical perspectives can reveal the complexities and possibilities of literature.
We owe special thanks to the Greenwood Publishing Group for allowing us to reprint a portion of Daniel Lindley’s book, as well as to Robert C. Evans and Locust Hill Press for making the annotated edition of “Owl Creek Bridge” available to an online audience. Thanks, finally, to Kyle Zaffino for his efforts over the last year; I could not have asked for a more committed, enthusiastic Managing Editor.