Wolfgang Mieder (born 17 February 1944) is a retired professor of German and folklore at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, Vermont, USA, where he had taught for 50 years. He is a graduate of Olivet College (BA), the University of Michigan (MA), and Michigan State University (PhD). He has been a guest speaker at the University of Freiburg in Germany, the country where he was born.
|Alma mater||Olivet College (B.A.)|
University of Michigan (M.A.)
Michigan State University (PhD)
|Known for||Expert on proverbs|
|Fields||German and folklore|
|Institutions||University of Vermont|
He is most well known as a scholar of paremiology, the study of proverbs, Alan Dundes labeling him "Magister Proverbium, paremiologist without peer". In addition to being a prolific author and editor on proverbs, he has made a distinct contribution by producing an "astounding number of bibliographies", both articles and volumes, on several topics within paremiology. His annual list of recent proverb scholarship is published in each volume of Proverbium. His most complete work in this area is his 2009 International Bibliography of Paremiology and Phraseology, published in two volumes.
From 1984 through 2021 he was the editor of Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship, an annual journal published by the University of Vermont. He was also editor of the Supplement Series to Proverbium, a series of book on various facets of proverb studies. Each volume of Proverbium contained his annual list of recent proverb scholarship.
He has published extensively in English and in German. He is the creator of the term anti-proverb, proverbs that are twisted from their original forms. The term became more established with the publication of Twisted Wisdom: Modern Anti-Proverbs by Mieder and Anna T. Litovkina.
His work also includes contributions to paremiography, the collecting and writing of proverbs. He has published a number of collections of proverbs, both topical and international. Also, in every year's volume of Proverbium, he publishes a list of proverb collections that have recently been published.
Mieder was honored by the American Folklore Society with their Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award in 2012. He was honored by three festschrift publications on his 60th birthday. He was later honored with a festschrift volume to honor his 65th birthday. He has also been recognized by biographical publications that focused on his scholarship. In 2012, he was awarded a European folklore award, the European Folklore Prize  In 2014, he was honored with an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens. In 2015, he was honored with "Doctor Honoris Causa" by the University of Bucharest. On the occasion of his seventieth birthday in 2014 friends and colleagues from around the world contributed sixty-six essays to Gegengabe, an international festschrift volume to honor Wolfgang Mieder for his contributions to world scholarship and his outstanding personality. For his 75th birthday, colleagues have honored him with another festschrift: Living by the Golden Rule: Mentor – Scholar – World Citizen: A Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder’s 75th Birthday.
Mieder's work has become the topic of study for other scholars.
Though Mieder is originally from Germany, he has lived in Vermont for over 40 years, teaching at the University of Vermont. This long time residence is reflected in his scholarship, as he has published four books on proverbs of New England and Vermont. His perspective and contributions from two countries has been the topic of an article.
- Janet Sobieski. "Wolfgang Mieder, Professor of German and Folklore". Retrieved 17 February 2009.
- Dundes, Alan. 2007. As the Crow Flies: A Straightforward Study of Lineal Worldview in American Folk Speech. Kimberly J. Lau, Peter Tokofsky, and Stephen D. Winick, eds. What goes around comes around: The circulation of proverbs in contemporary life, 171-187. Utah State University Press.
- p. 246. Petrova, Roumyana. 2014. Contrastive study of proverbs. Introduction to Paremiology. A Comprehensive Guide to Proverb Studies edited by Hrisztalina Hrisztova-Gotthardt and Melita Aleksa Varga, pp. 243-261. Berlin: De Gruyter Open. Online: Open Access version.
- p. xi, Charles Clay Doyle, Wolfgang Mieder, & Fred Shapiro. The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Supplement volume to Proverbium. University of Vermont.
- Yankee Wisdom: New England Proverbs, New England Press, 1989.
- The Prentice-Hall Encyclopedia of World Proverbs. MJF Books, 1986.
- AFS site
- "College of Arts and Sciences".
- Kevin McKenna, ed. 2009. The Proverbial 'Pied Piper': A Festschrift Volume of Essays in Honor of Wolfgang Mieder on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-0489-3
- Lauhakangas, Outi. 2012. In honorem Wolfgang Mieder. In Program of the Sixth Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Proverbs, 4th to 11th November 2012, at Tavira, Portugal, Rui B. Soares and Outi Lauhakangas, eds., pp. 81-84. Tavira: Tipograpfia Tavirense.
- Jones, Amy. 2012. Wolfgang Mieder: Ein Fuβ in beiden Ländern. In Sprache als Heimat, A. Jones, ed. Quasi. Middlebury [College] Zeitschrift 1:52-58.
- Prize awarded
- Web link to University of Bucharest announcement.
- Mieder, Wolfgang. 2016. An American-Romanian Friendship in Paremiology. Revisita de Etnografie şi Folclor 1-2: 165-182.
- Christian Grandl and Kevin McKenna, ed. 2015. Bis dat, qui cito dat Gegengabe in Paremiology, Folklore, Language and Literature Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday.Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-631-64872-8
- Nolte, Andreas and Dennis Mahoney. 2019. Living by the Golden Rule: Mentor – Scholar – World Citizen: A Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder’s 75th Birthday. Bern: Peter Lang.
- Nolte, Andreas. 2015. "Jedes Sprichwort muss einen Zipfel haben, wo man's anfasst": Ein Sprichwort-Spiel für Wolfgang Mieder. Bis dat, qui cito dat: Gegengabe in Paremiology, Folklore, Language and Literature ed. by Christian Grandl and Kevin McKenna, pp. 287-296. Peter Lang.
- All published by Shelburne, Vermont: The New England Press. Talk Less and Say More: Vermont Proverbs, 1986. As Sweet as Apple Cider: Vermont Expressions, 1988. Yankee Wisdom: New England Proverbs, 1989. As Strong as a Moose: New England Expressions, 1997.
- Jones, Amy. 2012. Wolfgang Mieder: Ein Fuss in beiden Laendern. "Sprache als Heimat" Quasi: Middlebury [College] Zeitschrift 54-56, entire article 52-58.
Selected books written or edited by MiederEdit
Books on paremiology
- 1981. Co-editor with Alan Dundes. The Wisdom of Many: Essays on the Proverb. New York: Garland Publishing. (Paperback edition: Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1994.)
- 1982. Antisprichwörter. (Anti-Proverbs.) Wiesbaden: Verlag für deutsche Sprache. 2nd ed. 1983.
- 1987. Tradition and Innovation in Folk Literature. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England.
- 1992. Sprichwort - Wahrwort!? Studien zur Geschichte, Bedeutung und Funktion deutscher Sprichwörter. (Proverb - Truism!? Studies Concerning the History, Meaning, and Function of German Proverbs.) Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
- 1983. Proverbs Are Never Out of Season: Popular Wisdom in the Modern Age. New York: Oxford University Press.
- 1999. Co-author with Anna Tóthné Litovkina. Twisted Wisdom: Modern Anti-Proverbs. Burlington, Vermont: The University of Vermont.
- 2002. "Call a Spade a Spade": From Classical Phrase to Racial Slur. A Case Study. New York: Peter Lang.
- 2004. Proverbs: A Handbook. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. (Reprint: New York: Peter Lang, 2012.)
- 2004. "The Netherlandish Proverbs". An International Symposium on the Pieter Brueg(h)els. Burlington, Vermont: The University of Vermont.
- 2008. "Proverbs Speak Louder Than Words". Folk Wisdom in Art, Culture, Folklore, History, Literature, and Mass Media. New York: Peter Lang.
- 2014. Behold the Proverbs of a People: Proverbial Wisdom in Culture, Literature, and Politics. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press.
- 1977. International Bibliography of Explanatory Essays on Individual Proverbs and Proverbial Expressions. Bern: Peter Lang.
- 1978. Proverbs in Literature: An International Bibliography. Bern: Peter Lang.
- 1984. Investigations of Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions, Quotations and Cliches: A Bibliography of Explanatory Essays which Appeared in "Notes and Queries" (1849–1983). Bern: Peter Lang.
- 1996. with George B. Bryan. Proverbs in World Literature: A Bibliography. New York: Peter Lang.
- 1999. with Janet Sobieski. Proverb Iconography: An International Bibliography. New York: Peter Lang.
- 2003. Proverbs and the Social Sciences: An Annotated International Bibliography. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren.
- 2009. International Bibliography of Paremiology and Phraseology. 2 vols. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Holocaust and Jewish studies:
- 1995. The Jewish Experience of European Anti-Semitism. Harry H. Kahn Memorial Lectures (1990–1994). Eds. Hazel Kahn Keimowitz and Wolfgang Mieder. Burlington, Vermont: The Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 1996. The Holocaust: Introductory Essays. Eds. David Scrase and W. Mieder. Burlington, Vermont: The Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 1999. Shifting Paradigms in German-Jewish Relations (1750–2000). Harry H. Kahn Memorial Lectures (1995–1999). Eds. Hazel Kahn Keimowitz and Wolfgang Mieder. Burlington, Vermont: The Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 2001. The Holocaust: Personal Accounts. Eds. David Scrase and Wolfgang Mieder. Burlington, Vermont: The Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 2001. Reflections on the Holocaust. Festschrift for Raul Hilberg on His Seventy-Fifth Birthday. Eds. Wolfgang Mieder and David Scrase. Burlington, Vermont: The Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 2004. Language, Poetry, and Memory. Reflections on National Socialism. Harry H. Kahn Memorial Lectures (2000–2004). Eds. W. Mieder and David Scrase. Burlington, Vermont: Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
- 2004. Making a Difference. Rescue and Assistance During the Holocaust. Essays in Honor of Marion Pritchard. Eds. David Scrase, Wolfgang Mieder, and Katherine Quimby Johnson. Burlington, Vermont: Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Vermont.
Studies of European folktales
- 2007. The Pied Piper. A Handbook. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
- 2007. Hänsel und Gretel: Das Märchen in Kunst, Musik, Literatur, Medien und Karikaturen. (Hänsel and Gretel: The Fairy Tale in Art, Music, Literature, Mass Media, and Caricatures.) Wien: Praesens Verlag.
- 2008. Co-editor with Sabine Wienker-Piepho. Lutz Röhrich. "And They Are Still Living Happily Ever After": Anthropology, Cultural History, and Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Burlington, Vermont: The University of Vermont.
- 2009. "Märchen haben kurze Beine": Moderne Märchenreminiszenzen in Literatur, Medien und Karikaturen. ("Fairy Tales Have Short Legs [i.e., They Lie]": Modern Fairy Tale Reminiscences in Literature, Media, and Caricatures.) Wien: Praesens.
- on YouTube.
- Dr. Mieder's homepage, linking to CV with extensive publication list
- Dr. Mieder speaking about Martin Luther King's use of proverbs
- Television documentary on Mieder
Interview of Wolfgang Mieder by Anna T. Litovkina, 2020 (during the COVID-19 pandemic). The whole interview is 2 hour, 2 min. There are smaller excerpts listed, with themes and topics:
- The whole interview, 2hr 2min.: Wolfgang Mieder’s Keys to Happiness and Success in Life.
- When Dreams Became Reality: From Germany to America. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- Gratitude: The Shoulders of Giants We Stand On. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- 3 Favorite English Proverbs of a Proverb Scholar par excellance Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- The Coronavirus Pandemic and The World Turned Upside Down. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- "Magister Proverbium, Paremiologist Without Peer" (Alan Dundes). A. Litovkina Interviews W. Mieder
- What Do You Consider to Be Your Greatest Failure in Life? Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- Paying Forward: On Good Deeds and Making a Difference. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- A Happy Workaholic and His Formula of Happiness. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- Habits and Personality Traits for Happiness and Success. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- Life Is Not a Spectator’s Sport: A Proverb to Finish the Interview. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder
- What Makes Me So Happy… Being Thankful. Anna Litovkina Interviews Wolfgang Mieder