Maxims and mottoes from masters of one-liners: A reading list

ideas.ted.com

Fiction is a dignified form of lies.” “What’s hard to express is easy to understand.” “Everything existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity.” Professional aphorist and all round word nerd James Geary (TED Talk: Metaphorically speaking) collects aphorisms like these — and documents their provenance in his own books. Here, check out his list of must-read books from other authors covering literary life, proverbs, aphorisms, and the art of being quoted.

1. History in English Words
Owen Barfield
Lindisfarne Press, 2007

“Barfield is a forgotten genius, and this book is his excavation of the metaphors buried in some of the most common English words. ‘Every modern language,’ he writes, ‘with its thousands of abstract terms and its nuances of meaning and association, is apparently nothing, from beginning to end, but an unconscionable tissue of dead, or petrified, metaphors. … A man cannot utter…

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