Cover: Modern Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings, from Harvard University PressCover: Modern Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings in E-DITION

Modern Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674864153

Publication Date: 07/01/1989

709 pages


Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

This new collection by our greatest connoisseur of proverbs is the first and only comprehensive compilation of proverbial sayings, British and American, that are actually in current use in this century—old ones still part of common parlance, others recently coined, and familiar ones with new twists. It will be of inestimable value to students of the proverb, of more than passing interest to folklorists and cultural historians, and to the casual browser and language buff a delight.

Bartlett Jere Whiting has, in the course of fifty years’ reading, culled these proverbial expressions from a huge range of sources, some seven thousand books as well as newspapers and magazines. Since proverbs are by nature popular, he has drawn heavily on popular writing such as detective stories and science fiction; with certain notable exceptions (James Joyce among them), major authors, writers of belles-lettres, have proved less fertile terrain than the purveyors of fiction for the masses. No one else has combed a comparable cross-section of the popular literature of this century in search of proverbial matter—and no one now could, given the ephemeral nature of those books. Moreover, only a scholar of Whiting’s expertise could confidently identify the proverbial expressions therein, with all their inversions, variations, and parodies.

The volume is patterned after its predecessor, Whiting’s Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. The sayings are alphabetized by key words, usually the first important noun or verb, and there are cross-references to other items of similar gist. The body of each entry consists of quotations, with their sources, in chronological order. For those who may wish to trace the prior history of a proverb or phrase, citations are provided to earlier collections and reference works in which it appears.

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Jacket: Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America, by Nathaniel Frank, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Pride Month

To celebrate Pride Month, we are highlighting excerpts from books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBT+ community. Nathaniel Frank’s Awakening: How Gays and Lesbians Brought Marriage Equality to America tells the dramatic story of the struggle for same-sex couples to legally marry, something that is now taken for granted. Below, he describes the beginnings of the gay rights movement. For homophiles of the 1950s, identifying as gay was almost always a risky and radical act