The University of Wisconsin Press

Folklore & Mythology / Anthropology / Cultural Studies / European History


The Wisdom of Many
Essays on the Proverb
Edited by Wolfgang Mieder and Alan Dundes
With a new Preface

The Wisdom of Many explores research on proverbs of many cultures. More than twenty essays written by scholars of such diverse disciplines as folklore, literature, psychology, linguistics, and anthropology illustrate the significance of traditional proverbs and trace variations of proverbs over time, drawing on African, Chinese, Spanish, Finnish, Irish, and Yiddish examples.

"The Wisdom of Many [includes] general overviews, definitions, discussions of structure and function, examples of proverbs in literary contexts, detailed investigation of individual proverbs, examinations of the use of proverbs in psychological testing, considerations of the value of proverbs in identifying national character, and essays on the influence and use of proverbs in modern mass media. In its variety this group of articles is as broad-ranging as any compilation yet made and includes material folklorists usually slight in their considerations of proverb literature."
—W. K. McNeil, Journal of American Folklore

Wolfgang Mieder is professor of German and folklore and chair of the Department of German and Russian at the University of Vermont. Author of more than sixty books on folklore and proverbs, including Proverbs Are Never Out of Season and Howl Like a Wolf: Animal Proverbs, Mieder is co-editor of A Dictionary of American Proverbs and A Dictionary of Wellerisms.

Alan Dundes is professor of folklore and anthropology at the University of California–Berkeley. His books available from the University of Wisconsin Press include Parsing through Customs: Essays by a Freudian Folklorist and several folklore casebooks: The Cockfight, The Evil Eye, The Blood Libel Legend, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood.

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Medieval drawing of two blacksmiths striking while the iron is hot

July 1994

LC: 91-026346 PN
340 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

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Paper $19.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-14364-0
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Cloth $45.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-14360-2
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"Newcomers will find here a wide-ranging and stimulating selection of essays representing the varied approaches that characterize modern proverb scholarship, while readers with a prior background in this area should welcome this convenient 'state of the art' assemblage of widely scattered studies, some well known and many less so, complete with their original notes and bibliographies."
—Shirley L. Arora, Western Folklore

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Updated June 12, 2012

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