Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom from History's Greatest Wordsmiths

Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom from History's Greatest Wordsmiths

by Mardy Grothe


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A must-have for language lovers, this compendium contains hundreds of mind-stretching observations that are contradictory or illogical on one level, yet true, witty, and often profound on another.

ox-y-mor-on-i-ca (OK-se-mor-ON-uh-ca) noun: Any variety of tantalizing, self-contradictory statements or observations that on the surface appear false or illogical, but at a deeper level are profoundly true.

For example:

"Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad."
—Victor Hugo

"To lead the people, walk behind them."

"You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap."
—Dolly Parton

For over a decade Dr. Mardy Grothe has delighted readers with this collection of 1,400 of the most provocative quotations of all time. From ancient thinkers like Confucius, Aristotle and Saint Augustine, to great writers like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and G. B. Shaw, to modern social observers like Woody Allen and Lily Tomlin, Oxymoronica celebrates the power and beauty of paradoxical thinking. All areas of human activity are explored, including love, sex, romance, politics, the arts, marriage and family, and, of course, the literary life. Sure to grab the attention of language lovers everywhere, the wise and witty observations in this book are as entertaining as they are intellectually nourishing. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060537005
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 588,400
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

 Dr. Mardy Grothe is a retired psychologist, management consultant, and platform speaker; the author of six books on words and language; the creator of Dr. Mardy’s Dictionary of Metaphorical Quotations; and one of America’s most beloved quotation anthologists. He lives in Southern Pines, North Carolina, with his wife, Katherine Robinson.

Table of Contents

Foreword Richard Lederer ix

An Introduction to Oxymoronica 1

Chapter 1 Oxymoronic Wit & Humor 17

Chapter 2 The Human Condition 36

Chapter 3 Sex, Love, & Romance 58

Chapter 4 Marriage, Home, & Family Life 76

Chapter 5 Ancient Oxymoronica 92

Chapter 6 Political Oxymoronica 107

Chapter 7 Oxymoronica on Stage & Screen 128

Chapter 8 Artistic Oxymoronica 141

Chapter 9 Oxymoronic Insults (and a Few Compliments) 152

Chapter 10 Oxymoronic Advice 165

Chapter 11 Descriptive Oxymoronica 178

Chapter 12 The Literary Life 193

Chapter 13 Oxymoronic Insights from World Literature 206

Chapter 14 Inadvertent Oxymoronica 225

Index 241

What People are Saying About This

A. Ross Eckler

“As addictive as a bowl of peanuts— you can’t stop after just one paradox from Oxymoronica!”

Erin McKean

“Truly the most comprehensible collection of contradictions around.”

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Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom from History's Greatest Wordsmiths 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Booklover88SH More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with quotations from many sources, and gives endless reading pleasure... I gave this book to 3 friends and relatives for Christmas, and they were received with much appreciation!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am speechless, so I will just say what is on my mind. What a read. Full of humor and great intellect as well. This book will give the reader hundreds of witty one liners, that are sure to create a smile or a perplexed look anywhere they choose. I doubt that I ever doubted, that this book would be a good read from start to finish.
Heather19 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such a great book!! I know the definition of oxymoron, I've seen some of the more familiar ones, but I've never seen anything like this book! It is, at the same time, hilarious and deeply inspirational, touching on such serious topics as death, love, human needs, and sex, while somehow keeping a lighthearted view around the quotes. A book absolutely FILLED with those kinds of phrases that really make you stop and think, this is very definitely not something to read straight-through. This is something to ponder, to sit and think about, maybe even discuss with a friend.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
My brother gave me this when he was cleaning. It was a gift from a good friend of his and he let me keep it. I was happy I did! Great when you need something intelligent to keep the stupid away.