The Proverb and An Index to

The Proverb and An Index to "The Proverb"

by Archer Taylor
The Proverb and An Index to

The Proverb and An Index to "The Proverb"

by Archer Taylor


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"The proverb and related forms have long been objects of general interest and the occasion of many books, but they have attracted little serious and thorough study . . . . The definition of a proverb is too difficult to repay the undertaking; and should we fortunately combine in a single definition all the essential elements and give each the proper emphasis, we should not even then have a touchstone. An incommunicable quality tells us this sentence is proverbial and that one is not. Hence no definition will enable us to identify positively a sentence as proverbial." Archer Taylor

Archer Taylor's "The Proverb" (1931) and "An Index to 'The Proverb'"(1934) present the classic and comprehensive study on paremiology. The Proverb deals with definition problems, metaphorical proverbs, proverbial types, variants, proverbs in folk narratives and literature, loan translations and the classical or Biblical origin of many proverbs. Taylor analyzes customs and superstitions reflected in proverbs; he studies legal, medical and weather proverbs; and he also investigates their content and style. Proverbial prophecies, blasons populaires, proverbial expressions, wellerisms and proverbial comparisons are dealt with as well. The large index contains many comparative and bibliographical notes on major European proverbs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888215717
Publisher: Fathom Pub. Co.
Publication date: 09/20/2017
Pages: 370
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Archer Taylor (August 1, 1890-September 30, 1973). Taylor earned his PhD at Harvard. He taught at Washington University in St. Louis 1915-25, University of Chicago 1925-39 and University of California, Berkeley 1939-58. Taylor published The Proverb (1931), its Index (1934) and Bibliography of Riddles (1939). Archer Taylor and Bartlett Jere Whiting published A Dictionary of American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases, 1820-1880 (1958). He wrote A History of Bibliographies of Bibliographies (1955) and General Subject-Indexes Since 1548 (1966). His library is at University of Georgia, except his ballad collection at University of California, Berkeley. More information at

Table of Contents


The Proverb

An Index to “The Proverb”

An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Proverbs

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