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    Brevity is the soul of wit

    Angles, French Perspectives on the Anglophone World

    For its inaugural issue, Angles: French Perspectives on the Anglophone World welcomes original proposals inspired by the celebrated aphorism: ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’. Often used to describe a literary and social form (humor or sarcasm) or to illustrate commonplaces, the dictum encapsulates beliefs about the relationship between ‘brevity’ and ‘wit’ which have numerous implications in different disciplines and forms of expression. The aphorism not only suggests that brevity is a gateway to revelatory truths, it also implies that true ‘wit’ exists only in shortened form, paradoxically positing depth of meaning (‘soul’) in brevity of form, and also hinting that humor loses its essence when explicated. Additional contradictions emerge when one recalls the context in which the line appears in Hamlet, when Polonius tires the audience by giving some words of wisdom to his departing son.

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