“Make love, not war…Get married and do both”: Negative aspects of marriage in anti-proverbs and wellerisms



How to Cite

T. Litovkina, A. (2017). “Make love, not war…Get married and do both”: Negative aspects of marriage in anti-proverbs and wellerisms. The European Journal of Humour Research, 5(4), 112–135. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2017.5.4.litovkina


In the present study I am going to explore negative aspects  of marriage and the ways it  is viewed  and conceptualized in the body of Anglo-American anti-proverbs (i.e., deliberate proverb innovations (also known as alterations, parodies, transformations, variations, wisecracks, mutations, or fractured proverbs) and wellerisms (a form of folklore normally made up of three parts: 1) a statement, 2) a speaker who makes this remark, and 3) a phrase that places the utterance into  an  unexpected, contrived situation. The meaning of the proverb, proverbial phrase or other statement is usually distorted by being placed into striking juxtaposition with the third part of the wellerisms). Another aim of the study is also to depict those who adhere  to the institution of marriage, that is, wives and husbands, and analyse their nature, qualities, attributes and behaviours as revealed through Anglo-American anti-proverbs and wellerisms. My discussion is organized in two parts. The anti-proverbs and wellerisms discussed in the present study were taken primarily from American and British written sources.  The texts of anti-proverbs were drawn from hundreds of books and articles on puns, one-liners, toasts, wisecracks, quotations, aphorisms, maxims, quips, epigrams, and graffiti   collected in two dictionaries of anti-proverbs compiled by Anna T. Litovkina and Wolfgang Mieder (see  Mieder & Tóthné Litovkina 1999;  T. Litovkina & Mieder 2006). The texts of wellerims are primarily quoted from the dictionary of wellerisms (see  Mieder & Kingsbury 1994). 



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