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978-0-19-214111-8 / 0192141112

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About the book:

The dictionary defines "aphorism" as "a short pithy statement or maxim," but beneath this definition lies a wealth of wit and insight to which neither the word nor any brief description can do justice. This delightful anthology demonstrates just how rewarding the aphorism can be and how brilliantly the aphorist can illuminate a hidden truth or reveal the ironies of life.
Whatever the situation, whatever the mood, the reader will find in this international array of aphorisms just the right words to give his or her feeling pungent expression. The classic aphorists--La Bruyère, Nietzsche, both Samuel Butlers, La Rochefoucault, Emerson--are here in abundance, as are the philosophers from the Greeks of Paul Valéry, the social commentators from Edmund Burke to Walter Benjamin. Statesmen and scientists, Olympians and gadflies, mystics and boulevardiers--this collection brings together the most diverse figures, drawing freely on ancients and moderns, on the widsom of East and West, juxtaposing viewpoints as different as those of Jean Cocteau and George Orwell, Ambrose Bierce and Marcus Aurelius, Lord Chesterfield and Elias Canetti. Profound, provocative, and vastly entertaining, The Oxford Book of Aphorisms will lure the reader back to its pages time and again. The book is fully indexed, and wherever possible, sources, dates, and complete names are supplied.

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