Wolfgang Mieder (born 17 February 1944) is professor of German and folklore at the University of Vermont, in Burlington, Vermont, USA. 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.
He is most well known as a scholar of paremiology, the study of proverbs. 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.
Since 1984 he has been the editor of Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship, an annual journal published by the University of Vermont. He is editor of the Supplement Series to Proverbium, a series of book on various facets of proverb studies. Each volume of Proverbium contains 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.
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.
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.
Selected books written or edited by Mieder
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.