"Maxims and axioms are, just like summaries, the work that spirited people do, it seems, for the use of mediocre or lazy spirits." Presenting maxims, axioms and more from the Philosophes: Vauvenargues! Chamfort! Fontenelle! La Bruyère! Galiani! La Rochefoucauld! Saint-Évremond! [more inside]
Aphorisms: "A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense." [ram] Journalist, gnomologist and author James Geary has just released Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists [Amazon. recent NPR interview here]. It draws from such aphorists as Shakespeare, Voltaire, Emerson, Shaw, Mae West, Woody Allen and Steven Wright. Also discussed is chiasmus, the Jefferson Bible and some meta. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like the blast of triumph..." [more inside]
The Maxims of François Duc de La Rochefoucauld. He was on the losing side in the Fronde, and later became a luminary of the salons of 17th century France, more particularly the salon of Mme. de Sable at Port-Royal, who wrote a neat Maxim or too, herself. Also on topic are Mots Français and Four Essays on Writing and Sentences by Peter Kalkavage.