/kler"euh hyooh'/, n. Pros.
a light verse form, usually consisting of two couplets, with lines of uneven length and irregular meter, the first line usually containing the name of a well-known person.
[1925-30; named after E. Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956), English writer, its inventor]

* * *

▪ poetic form
      a light verse quatrain in lines usually of varying length, rhyming aabb, and usually dealing with a person named in the initial rhyme.

      This type of comic biographical verse form was invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (Bentley, E C), who introduced it in Biography for Beginners (1905) and continued it in More Biography (1929) and Baseless Biography (1939). The humour of the form lies in its purposefully flat-footed inadequacy: in addition to clumsy rhythm and rhyme, the verse's treatment of the subject is either off the mark or totally beside the point, as though it were the work of a reluctant schoolchild. Clerihews are written as four-line verses of two rhyming couplets, the first line almost invariably ending with the name of the subject:

After dinner, Erasmus
Told Colet not to be “blas'mous”
Which Colet, with some heat
Requested him to repeat.

      The number of accents in the line is irregular, and one line is usually extended to tease the ear. Another requisite of the successful clerihew is an awkward rhyme, as in Bentley's "Aeschylus" :

“Steady the Greeks!” shouted Aeschylus.
“We won't let such dogs as these kill us!”
Nothing, he thought, could be bizarrer than
The Persians winning at Marathon.

 Another example is Bentley's "Cervantes" :The people of Spain think Cervantes
Equal to half-a-dozen Dantes:
An opinion resented most bitterly
By the people of Italy.

      Some of the best clerihews were written by Sir Francis Meynell (Meynell, Sir Francis), W.H. Auden (Auden, W H), and Clifton Fadiman (Fadiman, Clifton).

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • clerihew — humorous verse form, 1928, from English humorist Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875 1956), who described it in a book published 1906 under the name E. Clerihew …   Etymology dictionary

  • clerihew — n. a witty satiric verse containing two rhymed couplets and mentioning a famous person. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • clerihew — [kler′ə hyo͞o΄] n. [after E. Clerihew Bentley (1875 1956), Eng author] a humorous, quasi biographical poem made up of two rhymed couplets with lines of varying length and meter …   English World dictionary

  • Clerihew — A clerihew is a whimsical, four line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. One of his best known is this (1905): Sir Christopher Wren Said, I am going to dine with some men. If anyone calls Say I am designing St. Paul s. [1]… …   Wikipedia

  • Clerihew — Ein Clerihew ist ein kurzer scherzhafter pseudobiographischer Vierzeiler, eine Gedichtform, die von Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875–1956) erfunden wurde. Er besteht aus zwei Reimpaaren mit ungleichmäßiger Länge und mehr oder weniger freiem Rhythmus …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clerihew —    Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875 1956) was a British journalist who became a detective fiction writer; his best known novel was Trent s Last Case. But Bentley was immortalized not by his novels, but by his humorous quatrains about a person or… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • Clerihew — Cle|ri|hew [ klɛrɪhju:], das; [s], s [engl. clerihew, nach dem ersten Verfasser E. Clerihew Bentley]: vierzeilige humoristische Gedichtform: Leser dichten s (Hörzu 25, 1973, 93) …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Clerihew — Cle|ri|hew [ klɛrihju:] das; [s], s <aus gleichbed. engl. clerihew, nach dem ersten Verfasser E. Clerihew Bentley> vierzeilige humoristische Gedichtform …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • clerihew — noun Etymology: Edmund Clerihew Bentley died 1956 English writer Date: 1928 a light verse quatrain rhyming aabb and usually dealing with a person named in the initial rhyme …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • clerihew — noun A rhyme of four lines, usually regarding a person mentioned in the first line. The clerihew, as you can see …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”