Oxymoronica: Paradoxical Wit and Wisdom from History's Greatest Wordsmiths

Mardy Grothe, Author HarperResource $14.99 (246p) ISBN 978-0-06-053699-2
Coining the titular word to describe quotations that contain seemingly self-contradictory elements, psychologist and amateur wordsmith Grothe (Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You) gathers hundreds of examples--ancient, modern and everything in between--of such sayings. From Confucius's""Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's own ignorance"" to Yogi Berra's""Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded"" to Adrienne Rich's""Marriage is lonelier than solitude,"" these bon mots offer pithy insights and sometimes clever advice. Grothe's 14 chapters group the quotations by theme; in""Sex, Love, and Romance,"" for example, Louise Colet advises readers to""Doubt the man who swears to his devotion,"" while in""Oxymoronic Insults (and a Few Compliments),"" Henry James reflects that George Eliot is""magnificently ugly.... in this vast ugliness resides a most powerful beauty which, in a very few minutes, steals forth and charms the mind."" Potentially useful to public speakers and certainly bound to amuse word mavens, Grothe's collection is good clean fun--with a bit of an edge: the last section offers""Inadvertent Oxymoronica,"" in which George W. Bush is quoted as saying""One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected.""
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-00-728100-8
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-197833-3
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-053700-5
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