Abraham Lincoln's political and moral stature as a major public figure of the nineteenth century is indisputable and well attested to in his published works. His use of proverbial language added rhetorical prowess to his speeches, letters, proclamations, and memoranda. Both his oral and written communications are replete with metaphorical and colloquial language in the form of proverbs, proverbial expressions, proverbial comparisons, wellerisms, twin formulas, and triads. His effective employment of Biblical and folk proverbs, as well as proverbial phrases, makes him a masterful orator and writer. Of special interest in this regard is his rhetorical manipulation of such proverbs as: A house divided against itself cant stand, Broken eggs cant be mended, Right makes might, and Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream. Their traditional wisdom quickly becomes a powerful verbal weapon in his political, social, and humane struggle to rid the United States of slavery while keeping the Union together. This book contains an interpretive analysis of Lincoln's multifaceted use of proverbial language. The bulk of the volume is a key-word index to the contextualized occurrence of all proverbs and proverbial phrases in Lincoln's complete writings.
The Author: Wolfgang Mieder is Professor of German and Folklore at the University of Vermont. In addition to editing Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship, he is the author or co-author of numerous other books on proverbs, including A Dictionary of American Proverbs (1992); Proverbs Are Never Out of Season: Popular Wisdom in the Modern Age (1993); Wise Words: Essays on the Proverb (1994); The Proverbial Winston S. Churchill (1995); Proverbs in World Literature: A Bibliography (1996); The Proverbial Harry S. Truman (1997); The Politics of Proverbs; From Traditional Wisdom to Proverbial Stereotypes (1997); and Proverb Iconography: An International Bibliography (1999).