Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Sausage Dog?

Author’s note: As a child I did not know how to pronounce the surname of the German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

If you have the same problem, it sounds something like “GUR-tuh” — which may not be important in the grand scheme of things, but it has a certain relevance to the clerihew below….. as do the definitions of a couple of other words in the verse. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman.

Born in Frankfurt in 1749, Goethe (1749–1832) became a celebrity by the age of 25 after the publication of his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, a novel that bears the unfortunate reputation of being one of the first literary works to inspire copycat suicides. In 1775, Goethe moved to the city of Weimar, where he soon became a member of the local duke’s privy council. Goethe’s body of work includes poetry, dramas, novels, drawings, an autobiography, and various scientific treatises. Arguably, Goethe is best known today for his two-part drama Faust, in which the scholarly title character sells his soul to the devil.

Goethe died in Weimar in 1832.

And so to the clerihew, which draws on the places where Goethe was born and died, and on the specific eponyms associated with them.


….The Eponyms

Frankfurter (n): A variety of sausage.
Weimaraner (n): A variety of hunting dog first bred in Germany in the 19th century.

…..And a final word from the man himself

“When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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