As its title promises, the historical and cross-cultural range of this book is impressively broad. In its six chapters, it discusses the aphorisms of Confucius, Heraclitus, The Gospel of Thomas, Erasmus, Bacon, Pascal, and Nietzsche. There are, unfortunately, no chapters devoted to female aphorists—one aphorism by Madame de Sablé is mentioned in passing—but otherwise it is to be congratulated for avoiding the Eurocentrism that still dominates in the Anglophone world by discussing the writings of Chinese philosophers and Indian and Japanese Buddhism as well as those of the West. Perhaps the book's most commendable feature is Hui's mastery of languages: the finer nuances of classical Chinese, ancient Greek, Renaissance Latin, seventeenth-century French, and nineteenth-century German are covered with equal ease and, in several instances throughout the book, this enriches its examination of aphorisms from across the world. An outstanding example is when Hui discovers that in Nietzsche's “Philosophy in...

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