Sterling, George. Letter on Ambrose Bierce and Mark Twain, 1919 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
On Feb. 27, 1919, the poet George Sterling (1869-1926) wrote to a Mr. Rudy on stationery of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco. The full text of his letter, which was acquired by the University of Illinois Library in 1949 or before, reads as follows:
"I was much interested by the comments of 'alliteraricus,' in the Mirror of the 21st inst., on the pessimism of Mark Twain. By an odd coincidence, Ambrose Bierce, nearly of the same age as Twain and resembling him decidedly in appearance, shared the convictions of his fellow humorist as to the 'various unworth' of the human race. His pessimism was, in fact, of a dye darker than even Twain's, as witness one of his blasts in 'Prattle,' in which, after imagining through a number of lines how every moral pleads and extenuates on the Last Day, Bierce concludes by announcing, with apparent satisfaction, that 'The wretches ALL are swept to Hell!' Bierce had much deeper grounds for his misanthropy than had Twain, but, dear men! their pessimism was that of bilious sophomores, and both seem to have had, fortunately for them, not the slightest inkling of the true pessimism."