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Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700$
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Adam Fox

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199251032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199251032.001.0001

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Proverbial Wisdom

Proverbial Wisdom

(p.112) 2 Proverbial Wisdom
Oral and Literate Culture in England 1500–1700

Adam Fox

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the usage and importance of proverbs to the modes of thought and expression which personified England in the 16th and 17th centuries. There were about 12,000 proverbs and proverbial phrases in regular use in England during that time. Proverbial wisdom expressed the accumulated ethical values of ordinary people in early modern England. It was an ubiquitous ornament to both spoken and written English language and infused the phrase and fable of communication. Different individuals and groups used proverbial wisdom variedly in differing social circumstances.

Keywords:   proverbs, proverbial wisdom, ethical values, social circumstances, English language, communication

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