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Never Let A Fool Kiss You Or A Kiss Fool You [Hardcover]

Mardy Grothe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 19 1999
Engaging new territory for word lovers, speech makers, and party show-offs--this quotable collection enshrines a classic linguistic trick.

Pardon me--do you know what chiasmus means? Here's a hint: Mae West used chiasmus in her signature line "It's not the men in my life; it's the life in my men." So did John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Language maven Dr. Mardy Grothe discovered that many of the world's great wags and eloquent orators have been virtual masters of chiasmus--Churchill, Wilde, Shaw, Ben Franklin, Samuel Johnson, and Shakespeare, to name just a handful. In this unprecedented and quotable collection, he assembles the best examples of chiasmus ever written or spoken. Not since the oxymoron, the palindrome, or An Exaltation of Larks has there been a whole new category of wordplay so likely to fire the public imagination. In the tradition of Woe Is I and The Transitive Vampire, Never Let a Fool Kiss You...will make chiasmus a household word and help you wax profound in the company of the greatest wits of all time.

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When John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," he wasn't just stirring the hearts of millions of young Americans, he was also engaging in a little-known form of wordplay called chiasmus. Dr. Mardy Grothe has plumbed the depths of this form for years and catalogued hundreds of examples from ancient times to the present, in Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You (title courtesy of Joey Adams). All it takes is a repeated statement with two elements transposed between them--e.g., fool and kiss--and you get a powerful, often humorous, rhetorical prop. Collected in chapters like "Chiasmus for Lovers" and "Chiastic Compliments and Insults," the wisdom of the ages shines in gems such as Cicero's "It is as difficult for the good to suspect evil as it is for the evil to suspect good." Even better is Grothe's running commentary on the form and its masters and the often-biting humor found in the classics, for instance Dr. Johnson's "Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good." Fortunately for us, the good doctor wasn't referring to Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You, which is as fun to read as a reference as it is to refer to a reader. --Rob Lightner


"There is plenty of delight in this overdue collection." Houston Chronicle
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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CHIASMUS HAS ENJOYED a special place in the hearts of those who have a fascination with words at play. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway Lovers Stand At Attention July 22 1999
By A Customer
I am a scholar and avid fan of Ernest Hemingway. Only after devouring Dr. Mardy's Grothe groundbreaking collection of literary treasures did I realize that Hemingway too employs the chiastic trick in much of his writing. Dr. Grothe's book inspired me to reread many of the author's literary masterpieces as well as his letters and interviews. Sure enough, I found chiasmus popping up here and there in Hemingway's written and spoken statements. I was truly dumbfounded that the author used the technique so frequently. "Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You" is an enlightening, expertly selected goldmine of profound insights and immortal truths that is sure to have a significant impact on the way each of us views and uses language. It even prompted me to pen my own chiastic observation in regards to the recent Hemingway centennial: 'Only in the case of Hemingway could the century of the writer be more celebrated than the most celebrated writer of this century.
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There are books that you can really get into, and there are books that really get into you. Dr. Mardy Grothe's "Never Let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You" is one of the latter. It is a book to be savored like a hearty soup. If you encounter the book or the wonderful web site as I did, you will come in the door not knowing what a "chiasmus" is, and afterwards you will find examples everywhere. You will even start making them up. There are books one reads for information and others one reads for pleasure. This book is wonderfully informative. As for pleasure, that word is too bland to describe the delights in store for the reader. The knowledge of chiasmus will expand and stretch you, helping you see things you never saw before and challenging you to think in ways you've never thought before. God bless you, Mardy Grothe, for the gift of this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars For word lovers everywhere! Jan. 14 2000
Dr. Mardy Groethe not only introduced me to the literary deviceof chiasmus, but completely engaged and entertained me with his bookon the subject. The book is truly a joy! Dr. Groethe's chiasmi span from old to new, from light to meaningful, from humorous to serious. He shows how chiasmus are used by everyone: from poets to politicians, from writers to actors, from coaches to philosophers. Adding to the book is how Dr. Groethe organizes it, essentially enabling the reader to find a chiasmus for any occasion. It's no surprise to me that "Never Let A Fool Kiss You..." is the 8th best-selling quotation book in's history (as of 1/10/00) and going strong!
A new lover of chiasmus, I visited Dr. Groethe's website immediately after reading his book and signed up to receive free daily chiastic quotes directly from him!
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5.0 out of 5 stars NEVER KISS A FOOL OR LET A KISS FOOL YOU May 12 2000
What a great little book. If you like wordplay, philosphy, history and pop culture, you'll love reading chiamus quotes from then and now. Chiasmus stretchs and delights the mind. I bought the book as a guide to my teenage know...for the kissing part, but it has also become a delightful source of information as well as entertainment. We have fun trying to make up our own chiasmus lines. If you subscribe to Grothe's weekly Chiasmic'll discover a new puzzle and antedote. It always gives a moment of thought or mirth; giving new pleasure to the announcement to 'you've got mail'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully complete and completely wonderful Oct. 29 1999
Dr. Grothe's book is a joy to read. He says in his book that it is written for the intellectually curious with an interest in words, language and quotations. If this definition comes even close to who you think you are, this book is for you. It is best read at a slow reflective pace like a fine wine or a good cup of tea. As Grothe quotes Brougham "It is well to read everything of something and something of everything." This book offers you something of everything in its completeness of categories and everything of something in its love of chiasmus. What a gem!!!
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