Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists

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Bloomsbury USA, Oct 2, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 448 pages
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Bestselling expert James Geary's enlightening, entertaining compendium of wit and wisdom, from Sun Tzu to Desmond Tutu-and 350 aphorists in between.

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 classic writers like Voltaire, Twain, Shakespeare, and Nietzsche, but also more surprising figures, such as Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, Emily Dickinson, and Mae West. Some of the aphorists appear 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 make it different from all previous reference works.

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.

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Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists

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Aphorisms are always a delight to read; paragraph-long biographies of the aphorists, less so. New York Times best-selling author Geary's (The World in a Phrase) idiosyncratic book makes up for this by ... Read full review


Be Sincere Be Brief Be Seated
Icons and Iconoclasts
Moralists Major and Minor

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About the author (2007)

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

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