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Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists
     

Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists

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by James Geary
 

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Both an expert and a collector, James Geary has devoted his life to aphorisms-and the last few years to organizing, indexing, and even translating them. The result is Geary's Guide, featuring aphorists like Voltaire, Twain, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, Emily Dickinson, and Mae West, as well as international practitioners appearing in English for

Overview

Both an expert and a collector, James Geary has devoted his life to aphorisms-and the last few years to organizing, indexing, and even translating them. The result is Geary's Guide, featuring aphorists like Voltaire, Twain, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, Emily Dickinson, and Mae West, as well as international practitioners appearing in English for the first time. But it is more than just a conventional anthology. It is also an encyclopedia, containing brief biographies of each author in addition to a selection of his or her aphorisms. The book is a field guide, too, with aphorists organized into eight different "species," such as Comics, Critics & Satirists; Icons & Iconoclasts; and Painters & Poets. The book's two indexes-by author and by subject-make it easily searchable, while its unique organizational structure and Geary's lively biographical entries set it apart from all previous reference works.
A perfect follow-up to Geary's New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase, Geary's Guide is eminently suitable for browsing or for sustained reading. A comprehensive guide to our most intimate, idiosyncratic literary form, the book is an indispensable tool for writers and public speakers as well as essential reading for all language lovers.

Editorial Reviews

Michael Dirda
Geary has done a lot of research, both in libraries, where he claims to have consulted 1,400 volumes, and on the Internet, where he now maintains an aphorism Web site to which readers can contribute. Not surprisingly then, his new book is a wonderful breviary of wisdom, insight and cynicism, and one that will immediately find a place at many bedsides…Though most readers will gravitate to the aphorisms themselves, Geary's pen portraits of their authors shouldn't be overlooked. He says something fresh or interesting about nearly everyone.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

Aphorisms are always a delight to read; paragraph-long biographies of the aphorists, less so. New York Timesbest-selling author Geary's (The World in a Phrase) idiosyncratic book makes up for this by listing as many as four to 30 aphorisms from 350 authors. These are divided loosely into eight categories, looselybeing the operative word. "Old Souls and Oracles," for example, oddly links Yogi Berra with Augustine, Confucius, Jesus, Ecclesiastes, and Zen Masters. And why divide "Moralists" into "Major and Minor" but not do the same with "Philosophers and Theorists"? The catchall category of "Strange Beasts" contains aphorisms by such writers as Ambrose Bierce, Emily Dickinson, Diogenes, and Nietzsche, who surely could have fit better elsewhere. Geary concentrates on English, Dutch, and German aphorists because he knows those languages, but he includes translations by others. All in all, a fun book that is too quirky to serve as a reference or compendium; recommended only for large libraries with popular reading collections.
—Kitty Chen Dean

From the Publisher

“…a wonderful breviary of wisdom, insight and cynicism, and one that will immediately find a place at many bedsides…there are pleasures and surprises galore.” —Washington Post

“An agreeable thing to have in your lap.” —Dwight Garner

Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists is a rich, well-edited compendium, which is at once a feast, a frolic, a thought-kit and a treasure trove. A book to relish and to keep close.” —John Lahr, New Yorker

“A masterful compilation from a man adept at taking the pith.” —Ben Schott

“[An] entertaining love letter to the compact form.” —New York Times on The World in a Phrase

“A reward. Geary presents several dozen coiners of pithy, memorable sayings.” —Washington Post on The World in a Phrase

“The definitive work on aphorisms, a love letter–cum–memoir disguised as a reference book.” —Publishers Weekly on The World in a Phrase

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596917880
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/08/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

James Geary is the author of The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism and The Body Electric: An Anatomy of the New Bionic Senses. He lives in London with his wife and three children. His Web site is www.jamesgeary.com.
James Geary is the author of The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism and The Body Electric: An Anatomy of the New Bionic Senses. He lives in London with his wife and three children. His Web site is www.jamesgeary.com.

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Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago