Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was an inveterate user of proverbs in her fictional writings, the sales of which number in excess of one billion. An active writer for fifty-four years, Christie used proverbs in a manner that both reflected and shaped contemporary British speech. This lexicographical book examines 3,290 proverbs and proverbial sayings uttered by 785 characters in sixty-six vels, 142 short stories, seventeen dramas, and six romances. The author's premise is that Christie modeled all her fictional works on the well-made play formula and that proverbs are employed t in isolation, but as a function of plot, character, and thought. In addition to an introductory essay, the book contains a list of the distribution of Christie's proverbs according to title, a keyword index with citations of standard authorities, and an appendix containing six statistical tables.
The Author: George B. Bryan (b. 1939) is a professor of theatre history, literature, and criticism at the University of Vermont (Burlington/USA). His interest in dramatic structure prompts this excursion into paremiology. Specializing in theatrical biography, he is the author of Ethelwold and Medieval Music-Drama at Winchester (1981), An Ibsen Companion (1984), Stage Lives (1985), Stage Deaths (1991), and Ethel Merman: A Bio-Bibliography (1992). Professor Bryan, former director of the Center for Research on Vermont, is an ardent exponent of studies of regional theatre.