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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

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Author: Ambrose G. Bierce
Publisher: Original English publication, 1890

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Book Type: Short Story
Genre: Horror
Sub-Genre Tags: Psychological
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Film & Television Adaptations

Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Janus Films

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"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (1890) is a short story by the American writer and Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce. Described as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature", it was originally published by The San Francisco Examiner on July 13, 1890, and was first collected in Bierce's book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (1891). The story, which is set during the American Civil War, is known for its irregular time sequence and twist ending. Bierce's abandonment of strict linear narration in favor of the internal mind of the protagonist is an early example of the stream of consciousness narrative mode.

The condemned man stands on a bridge, his hands bound behind his back. A noose is tied around his neck. In a moment he will meet his fate: DEATH BY HANGING. There is no escape. Or is there? Find out in... An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

This short story originally appeared in The San Francisco Examiner, July 13, 1890. It has been anthologized numerous times, and can also be found in several collections, including The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce (1970) and Terror By Night: Classic Ghost and Horror Stories (2011).

It was the basis for the 1962 French short film La Rivière du hibou, later screened in 1964 as episode 142 of The Twilight Zone.


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