The Oxford Book of Aphorisms

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.34
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 84%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (12) from $4.34   
  • New (5) from $21.80   
  • Used (7) from $4.34   


This anthology demonstrates to the full just how brilliantly the aphorist can illuminate the hidden truth, or lay bare the ironies of existence. Specific sections, including 'Religion', 'Money & Rank', 'Men, Women, Marriage' and 'Politics', cover the whole range of aphoristic literature. This book brings together the most diverse figures -- the classic aphorists, like La Rochefoucauld; the philosophers, from the Greeks to Bertrand Russell; great men and women of letters, from Samuel Johnson to Virginia Woolf -- as well as statesmen, scientists, boulevardiers, Olympians, and gadflies. John Gross draws on their wisdom and wit to produce an anthology that will be referred to time and time again.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192804563
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 394
  • Sales rank: 1,052,566
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Editor:
John Gross, a writer for The New York Times, is the author of The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Aphorists & Aphorisms I 1
Nature 3
Religion 10
Mankind 20
Life 28
Desires & Longings 33
Fears, Hopes, Passions 38
Design & Chance 44
Individuals 50
The Sense of Identity 54
Self-Love 59
Self-Knowledge 67
Self-Doubt 72
One Among Many 77
Fame & Reputation 86
The Arts of Success 90
Action & Achievement 96
Money & Rank 101
The Social Fabric 106
Politics 115
Rulers 126
Friends & Foes 133
Sympathies & Antipathies 140
Men, Women, Marriage 146
Love, Jealousy, Libido 153
Happiness & Sorrow 166
Good & Evil 174
Vices & Virtues 184
The Moralist 195
Praise & Blame 201
Conversation & Manners 208
Secrets 214
True & False 218
Illusion & Reality 225
Thinking & Reasoning 229
Wisdom & Folly 240
Intelligence & Insight 247
Beliefs & Opinions 253
Knowledge & Ignorance 263
Learning & Teaching 267
Memories, Dreams, Expectations 272
The Human Comedy 276
Language 280
The Written Word 285
Artists & Authors 291
The Arts 297
Criticism, Judgement, Taste 305
Great & Small 312
History & the Passing Generations 319
In Sickness & In Health 326
Pleasures & Penalties 329
The Family 334
Young & Old 338
Time & Transience 346
Observations & Oddities 351
Death 355
The Afterlife 362
Aphorists & Aphorisms II 364
Acknowledgements 367
Index 375
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    It was all right

    I was looking for a book that not only gave a comprehensive selection of aphorisms, but also an explanation of where they came from.

    It is nicely organized, but not exactly what I wanted.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)