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«Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words»

Wisdom in Art, Culture, Folklore, History, Literature and Mass Media

Wolfgang Mieder

The ten chapters of «Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words» present a composite picture of the richness of proverbs as significant expressions of folk wisdom as is manifest from their appearance in art, culture, folklore, history, literature, and the mass media. The first chapter surveys the multifaceted aspects of paremiology (the study of proverbs), with the second chapter illustrating the paremiological work by the American folklorist Alan Dundes. The next two chapters look at the effective role that proverbs play in the mass media, where they are cited in their traditional wording or as innovative anti-proverbs. The fifth chapter discusses proverbs as expressions of the worldview of New England. This is followed by two chapters on the proverbial prowess of American presidents, to wit the proverbial style in the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams and a discussion of Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal proverb «Don’t swap horses in the middle of the stream.» The eighth chapter traces the tradition of proverb iconography from medieval woodcuts to Pieter Bruegel the Elder and on to modern caricatures, cartoons, and comic strips. The last two chapters deal with the origin and history of the proverbial expression «to tilt at windmills» as an allusion to Cervantes’ Don Quixote and the many proverbial utterances in Mozart’s letters. The book draws attention to the fact that proverbs as metaphorical signs continue to play an important role in oral and written communication. Proverbs as socalled monumenta humana are omnipresent in all facets of life, and while they are neither sacrosanct nor saccharine, they usually offer much common sense or wisdom based on recurrent experiences and observations.

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Index 349

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absence, 9, 19, 31, 87, 103, 113, 266 Achilles, 277 actions, 1, 133, 199 Adam, 21 advertise, 3, 121, 148 advice, 154 affairs, 153, 183 alternative, 105 America, 17, 147 American, 109 apple, 4, 19, 31, 33, 61, 101, 109, 113, 129, 147, 148, 234, 261 apple pie, 109, 162 April, 55 ars (Latin), 69 arse, 77, 78, 324–29, 334, 335, 340 art, 148 ass (arse), 77, 78 ass (donkey), 162, 287, 320, 321, 325 baby, 21, 111, 147, 233, 268 back, 219 bag, 154, 193 ball, 91 banks, 163 bargain, 277 bark, 189 barrel, 101 basket, 338 be, 343, 344 bear (noun), 321 bear (verb), 193 beast, 277 beat, 101 beauty, 19, 113, 134, 162, 277 bed, 100, 107, 109, 114, 150, 152, 182, 192, 265, 266 bee, 149, 289 been, 12, 100, 133 beg, 62 begins, 335 behind (noun), 324 believe, 75 bell, 62 berries, 161 bet, 222 better, 332 bird, 19, 21, 23, 64, 96, 101, 107, 108, 126, 127, 147, 157, 234, 261, 266 birds, 20, 136, 175, 186, 197, 261, 266, 284 bite, 91 blind, 93, 94, 259, 262, 263 blockhead, 174, 197 blondes, 109 blood, 62, 100, 291 blue, 176, 177 boats, 154 boiled, 149 bone, 175 bones, 68 book, 19, 107, 115, 129, 130 books, 68 boss, 77 Boston, 162 Index Mieder-Index.indd 349 6/2/2008 6:40:13 PM 350 | INDEX bought, 161 box, 277 boys, 264 brains, 162 bread, 4, 107, 108, 124, 146 brevity, 14, 108 bride, 93 bridegroom, 186 brilliance,...

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