AM -- Dictionaries


Harenberg-Lexikon der Sprichwörter & Zitate: mit 50000 Einträgen das umfassendste Werk in deutscher Sprache [Harenberg Dictionary of Proverbs and Quotations: With 50,000 Entries the Most Comprehensive in the German Language]. Ed. Brigitte Beier. Dortmund: Harenberg, 1997. 1600 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-611-00611-4: DM 98.00

In addition to the "classics," (e.g., Büchmann's Geflügelte Worte and Zoozmann's Zitatenschatz der Weltliteratur), there are also numerous newer quotation dictionaries, including large ones, most often in several editions. Genuine new compilations are rare, especially those that claim, as the Harenberg-Lexikon does, to be the "most comprehensive work in the German language." It contains "about 50,000 entries," listed alphabetically under 2,905 topical headings. The high number results from the vague selection criteria; in addition to proverbs and quotations (as mentioned in the title), the book includes folk wisdom, idioms, and phrases that are not especially pithy or memorable, e.g., banalities from politicians. Many famous authors are represented by large numbers of unknown quotations from little-known works.

The choice of sources has been expanded beyond the traditional, mostly literary canon. This can be ascertained from the name index, which also attests to the high proportion of living authors from all walks of life and identifies each person by dates, profession, and nationality. There is no index for formal categories like proverbs or idioms or titles like Bible. The attributions are only moderately specific, for example, "Friedrich Schiller, Wilhelm Tell (Tell)" rather than act and scene.

Despite the high number of entries and the inclusion of non-traditional and contemporary sources, the Harenberg-Lexikon contains many expressions of conventional wisdom that make one ask why they have been included here. [sh/gh]


Lexikon der boshaften Zitate: bissige Definitionen, treffende Bonmots und charmante Gemeinheiten [Dictionary of Mean-Spirited Quotations: Caustic Definitions, Snappy Bonmots, and Charming Insults]. Ernst Günter Tange. Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn, 1997. 588 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-8218-3431-5: DM 44.00

The author of this collection of aphorisms is an example of the kind of passionate and lifelong collector that compilers of quotation dictionaries often are. This volume is an expanded cumulation of his earlier collections issued by the same publisher (Das Wörterbuch für Querdenker [1987], Sag's mit Witz [1989], and Das große Buch der boshaften Definitionen [1989]); presumably drawing on the same material, he has also published collections specifically for men, women, lawyers, teachers, managers, and doctors.

The present dictionary contains 7,590 "aphoristic definitions" arranged alphabetically under subject terms with the sources (only given generally, with many marked as anonymous). There is no index, in part because of the alphabetical arrangement and in part because the work is also meant to serve as light reading. [sh/gh]

Next Section
Previous Section
Table of Contents

Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: July 31, 2000 [RD]
© 2005 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483