Cover image for The Penguin dictionary of epigrams
The Penguin dictionary of epigrams
Cohen, M. J. (Mark Julian)
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2002.

Physical Description:
xx, 482 pages ; 20 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: Penguin, 2001.

Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6281 .C59 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



American master of sardonic wit Ambrose Bierce defined the  epigram as a "short, sharp saying in prose or verse, frequently characterized by acidity or acerbity and sometimes by wisdom." This delightful dictionary puts multitudes of epigrams at your fingertips, providing the perfect phrases with which to show off your razor-sharp wit and verbal acrobatics. With contributions from everyone that matters (and many who otherwise haven't), this wonderful anthology is humorous, stimulating, and entertainingly edifying.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This is a useful and entertaining new reference from former publisher Cohen, who previously edited The Penguin Thematic Dictionary of Quotations and The Penguin Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Quotations. In addition, until 1989, he collaborated with his father, J.M. Cohen, on The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations. The younger Cohen has now assembled a delightful collection featuring the epigram, typically defined as a terse, witty, and paradoxical observation on the human condition. Often confused with the aphorism, the epigram is usually associated with certain personages, Oscar Wilde and Ambrose Bierce being just two of the well-known writers to employ it. Cohen selects many quotations from these writers, as well as a host of other literary and intellectual luminaries from across the centuries. He concentrates heavily on Western writers, with an emphasis on American and British speakers, giving credit to each and including source and date of the epigram if known. Arranged by theme, the book is easy to use and fun to browse. It features two different indexes and a Theme Finder, which serves as a table of contents, directing readers to epigrams on various topics, from "Actions" to "Youth and Age." A worthy addition to the reference shelf in libraries of all sizes.-Katherine E. Merrill, SUNY at Geneseo Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. viii
What is an Epigram?p. ix
How to Use the Dictionaryp. xiv
Theme Finderp. xv
Dictionary of Epigramsp. 1
Indexp. 435