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Living by the Golden Rule: Mentor – Scholar – World Citizen

A Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder’s 75th Birthday

Edited By Andreas Nolte and Dennis Mahoney

This Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder, preeminent paremiologist and folklorist, combines personal tributes and scholarly papers by colleagues, friends, and former students – presented in three categories that address his roles as a mentor, scholar, and world citizen over many decades.

The central scholarly section likewise consists of three parts. The papers dealing with proverbs examine them as patterns, stereotypes, rhetorical devices, media for self-enchantment, and means of allusion in works by Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Chukovskaya, and Kempowski. A second group deals with fairy-tale motifs in literary works by Lehmann, Rabinowich, and Hummel. A third section includes topics ranging from James Bond to Stephen King, from runaway slaves to the Holocaust, and literature as cultural ecology.

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Special birthdays deserve special recognition. And a seventy-fifth birthday requires even a little extra effort to show gratitude and convey festive joy. But those individuals whose aim seems to be to touch the lives of many people in positive ways particularly deserve such recognition.

Wolfgang Mieder is one of those people. He is extraordinary not only as a scholar, but also as an individual who makes real on a daily basis the exhortation by Goethe that is one of Wolfgang’s favorite sayings: “Edel sei der Mensch, / Hilfreich und gut!” (Let humans be noble, / Helpful and good). In the opening interview for the Festschrift co-edited by Christian Grandl and Kevin McKenna on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Wolfgang was asked to name his three favorite proverbs and explain the reasons for his selections. One of the proverbs he chose was the “Golden Rule” found across world religions and cultures: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”; if more people would put this into practice, he observed, the world would be a better place. As the contributors to this volume make clear, Wolfgang certainly practices what he preaches!

We have asked colleagues, friends, and former students – it will become obvious in these almost 60 contributions that there is no clear distinction between these groups – to write either a personal tribute or a scholarly paper on the occasion of Wolfgang’s seventy-fifth birthday. These texts are presented here in three categories...

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