Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists

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James Geary

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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 aphorists like Voltaire, Twain, Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Woody Allen, Muhammad Ali, Emily Dickinson, and Mae West, as well as international practitioners appearing 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 set it apart from all previous reference works.
A perfect follow-up to Geary's New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase, 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.


...a wonderful breviary of wisdom, insight and cynicism, and one that will immediately find a place at many bedsides...there are pleasures and surprises galore. -Washington Post
An agreeable thing to have in your lap. -Dwight Garner
Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists is a rich, well-edited compendium, which is at once a feast, a frolic, a thought-kit and a treasure trove. A book to relish and to keep close. -John Lahr, New Yorker A masterful compilation from a man adept at taking the pith. -Ben Schott


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