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The old proverb “All things must come to an end” will serve me very well for the last preface that I shall write for yet another volume of Proverbium: Yearbook of International Proverb Scholarship. Of course, I ought to add the classical proverb “Tempus fugit” to it, since almost four decades have passed by since I became the founding editor of this annual publication. This year it is volume thirty-eight, and it might have been nice to finish with the round number of forty or even fifty volumes. However, advancing age cannot be stopped, and the moment for the orderly transfer of the editorship of Proverbium has surely arrived.
Several matters have led me to the difficult conclusion of handing over the reins to someone else. There is my age of seventy-seven and my decision to retire at the end of May 2021 after having served as Professor of German and Folklore at my beloved University of Vermont for fifty years! Together with my wife Barbara I gave this much thought, and I admit that it is painful to leave the teaching of my dear students behind. They have given me so much joy for half a century, and I shall miss them terribly. However, the university administration is letting me keep my International Proverb Archive in the Waterman Building on our campus. My large library of over nine thousand proverb collections and books on international proverb scholarship that I donated to the University of Vermont is housed in the beautiful Billings Library that I hope might become a Mecca for visiting proverb scholars. Obviously, I shall continue my scholarly work and plan to be at the university at least two or probably three days of the week.
My retirement alone is not the most important reason for giving up the editorship of Proverbium. This decision is primarily based on very pragmatic reasons. The expense of editing, publishing, and mailing the yearbooks literally throughout the world is not sustainable any longer. While the unchanged subscription rates of $45 for libraries and $40 for individuals have not changed, and while I have always received $2000 from the College of Arts and Sciences and $1000 from the University Bookstore, these sums do not even come close to covering the actual costs that I have been glad and honored to personally subsidize all these years. More and more journals and yearbooks are now published online, and there is simply no choice but for Proverbium to follow suit.
It is my great pleasure and honor to announce that two much younger and well-established paremiologists will be the new editors as of volume 39 (2022). Dr. Hrisztalina Hrisztova-Gotthardt (Bottmingen, Switzerland) and Dr. Melita Aleksa Varga (Osijek, Croatia) are well-known among proverb scholars with their jointly edited book Introduction to Paremiology. A Comprehensive Guide to Proverb Studies having become a classic in but a few years. The headquarters of Proverbium will be at the University of Osijek in Croatia. Both new editors will have all addresses to continue to distribute the electronic version of the yearbook. Please feel free to contact them at: email@example.com.
Both of them are eager to continue the publication of Proverbium for years to come. I am especially pleased that they will continue with the volume numbers. They might make some changes in manuscript preparation and external reviews, but basically they are committed to continue the long-standing service to the international paremiological community. I certainly want to thank my two friends for their willingness to continue my work with dedication and diligence. As I have promised them, I shall be glad to assist them in any way possible. It is also my hope that I can travel to the University of Osijek and thank the leadership there for hosting the new editorial office of Proverbium. After thirty-eight years of my scholarly service, there are literally hundreds of colleagues and friends whom I wish to thank for their support and help. My most sincere appreciation goes to all the paremiologists from around the world who entrusted me with their significant scholarship. I thank them for considering Proverbium worthy of publishing their important work. It has been such an incredible honor for me to edit Proverbium for so many years. I shall miss it, but I hope that some of my own future papers will be accepted in the “new” Proverbium. Since I have kept all the correspondence that I have had with all the contributors, I am thinking about putting a volume of letters together that will be a written testimony to the splendid history of the yearbook.
I thank all of you, individuals and libraries, for the many years of supporting Proverbium by sending me your valuable manuscripts, paying for subscriptions, and making financial donations to our yearbook. Special thanks are due my associate editor Galit Hasan-Rokem, my managing editor Brian Minier, and my production editor Hope Greenberg who, as well as their unnamed predecessors, helped to make these volumes possible. I also wish to thank my friends at Queen City Printers of Burlington, Vermont, for producing the handsome volumes. Special thanks also to several deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, a few bookstore managers at the University of Vermont and several former students for their generous support. All of these good friends have played a big role in keeping our Proverbium afloat. So let me end my last preface with yet another proverb: “All’s well that ends well!” I shall keep my Proverbium in my mind and heart for my remaining years, knowing that it brought much happiness and satisfaction to me during many productive years in the dedicated service of international paremiology. Farewell, my beloved Proverbium, in the capable hands of my dear friends Hrisztalina and Melita who will continue the good work. I thank them both from the bottom of my heart and look forward to assisting them in any way I can. I know that the future of Proverbium looks very bright as it moves towards fifty, seventy-five, and a hundred volumes!