Proverbs are Never Out of Season

Proverbs are Never Out of Season : Popular Wisdom in the Modern Age

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Description

The author of this text examines the uses to which proverbs have been put - political propaganda, advertising and medical superstition - and their role in the modern world. Ranging from regional proverbs to Americanizations and homespun wisdom, the book also contains 36 halftones that illustrate the place of proverbs in popular culture.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 302 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones, line drawings
  • 0195077288
  • 9780195077285

Table of contents

27.50), is widely regarded as the world's leading paremiologist (or proverbs expert!) In this entertaining new book, he looks at the uses to which proverbs have been put - political propaganda, advertising, and medical superstition - and their role in the modern world. Ranging from regional proverbs ('Vermont has two seasons - winter and the Fourth of July') to Americanizations ('Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater'), and homespun wisdom ('An apple a day keeps the doctor away'), the book also contains 36 black-and-white halftones illustrating the place of proverbs in popular culture.show more

About Wolfgang Mieder

About the Author Wolfgang Mieder is Professor of German and Folklore and Chairperson of the Department of German and Russian at the University of Vermont. He has written over fifty books, including The Wisdom of Many: Essays on the Proverb, Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature, and American Proverbs: A Study of Texts and Contexts.show more

Review Text

In a series of engaging essays, Mieder (German and Russian/University of Vermont; Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature, 1987) concludes that technological society needs - and generates - proverbs as much as did primitive agrarian societies. After describing the formal complexity of proverbs - their dependence on sound, syntax, and context - Mieder (ed. of The Dictionary of American Proverbs, 1991) traces their origins to the biblical, classical, and medieval traditions; their movement from individuals to communities; the role they play in cultural literacy; and what they reveal about cultural values. In a chapter on the proverb "Early to bed and early to rise...," the author shows how a proverb changed from wisdom (as intended by its creator, Ben Franklin) to parody (Groucho Marx), and, in a chapter on "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water," he shows how that proverb originated in Germany in 1512, migrated to England, and was popularized by G.B. Shaw. Discussing contemporary proverbs, Mieder explains how "A picture is worth a thousand words," coined in 1921 by an American advertising executive, migrated to Europe. Some proverbs, such as "A woman's place is in the house," have lost their meaning, while others, such as "The early bird catches the worm," reveal the values of the community that uses them, or - as in "Practice makes perfect" - help to acculturate individuals. And proverbs can also be misused, the author shows, as in Nazi Germany. Chapters on medical proverbs ("An apple a day...") and on Vermont's regional proverbs ("Mud thrown is ground lost") are especially insightful, fresh, and amusing. Throughout, it's the essential fun of proverbs that Mieder conveys - as well as their literal charm. A memorable and learned book by an author who can explain as well as discover. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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