Monday, September 5, 2011

Wein, Weib, und Gesang



Wein, Weib, und Gesang [vaɪn vaɪp ʊnt gəˈzaŋ] n. phr.

1.) Wine, women, and song, proverbially considered the essential ingredients for carefree entertainment and pleasure by men (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).

Etymology: German, first popularized as the title of a 1869 waltz by Johann Strauss. Strauss probably took it from the anonymous couplet found in Martin Luther's room at Wartburg Castle: Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib, und Gesang / Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang [He who loves not wine, women, and song / will remain a fool his life long].

"And the education of women will always correspond to the notion of her held by men. Now we all know what that is, how men look on women: Wein, Weib, und Gesang, and so it goes in the verses of the poets. Take all poetry, all painting, all sculpture, beginning with erotic verse and naked Venuses and Phrynes, and you will see that woman is an instrument of pleasure, such she is at Truba and at Grachevka and at the finest ball" ("The Kreutzer Sonata", in The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy, David Goldfarb (trans.), 2003).

(Wein, Weib und Gesang, Josef Danhauser, 1839)
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Just to be clear, that quote doesn't really capture the essence of the phrase (don't think it's quite so misogynistic). But I couldn't pass up a Tolstoy quote.

Anyway, now it's time to announce the winner of this week's contest. This was a tough one, as veterans D4 and jos xx faced a strong challenge from newcomers Katie and Lemons Don't Make Lemonade. But, in the end, experience won out and the victor was...jos xx! She wrote (continuing the story from last week):
"Even though I was determined to leave town, his infinite kindness towards me always held me back from fleeing. On the other hand, the guilt of being so madly in love with his wife was eating my insides every day. Often her coming in interrupted his droll stories with which he entertained us every evening. Most of the time his trenchant words would hurt her deeply...and I would want to kill him. I would find myself staring at her and feel this tortured velleity to be with her. And I suddenly remember New Year's when she accepted my dance invitation with an alacrity that surprised me. I felt a sudden frisson down my neck when she held my hand and led me to the dance floor, away from her husband's gaze..."
Well done again, jos xx. You're setting a pretty high standard here. (I hope I don't have send a book to Malta, that must be expensive! Just kidding.) I also feel like I should share D4's entry, as it was, as always, hilarious. He wrote:
"As you whimpered I felt something of a frisson. I didn't want to, I admit I never liked you, but I didn't think I could be so cruel. To have you so near was a mere velleity in my arsenal of thoughts and to be frank, I never really thought I'd have it in me to be so.. trenchant. You're a droll, Mr. Mencia, you really aren't funny, and it is too much of a rara avis for me to have a loaded gun as you lay there, defenseless. I can't pass this opportunity. This is going to happen."
Okay, so for next week, the words are your favorite 5 of: gallimaufry, truculent, mutatis mutandis, chutzpah, trahison des clercs, limn, and slough. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

19 comments:

jos xx said...

i'm having a really bad day today, you managed to cheer me up :)

jos xx

HYDRIOTAPHIA said...

But in fact Tolstoy does sadly display quite distinctly misogynist inclinations in his late short stories including 'The Kreutzer Sonata'.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

Congrats, Jos xx!! (:

DEZMOND said...

that waltz is extremely popular in my country :)

DEZMOND said...

PS I adore Tolstoy! I wrote a lot of essays on his work back in high school.

Mai Yang said...

whoa! Another victory from Jos xx! ^_^ Good Job!

D4 said...

Today's word..words.. phrase. It's me. It IS me.

It's nice to see competition increasing! And congrats to Jos xx, that was some fine work. :)

Shutterbug said...

Oh Jos xx, you are a talent to be reckon with! Congrats!

@D4: It is YOU!!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I guess the modern equivalent of "wine, women and song" is "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll."

GMSoccerPicks said...

Strauss had life pretty much figured out. He even made it sound cool.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Yet another thing to thank Strauss for relaying to us. The important things in life.

Michael Westside said...

`so those are english words now?

Katie said...

Oh man, jos xx put me to shame! Haha. Oh well, I guess I could try again...!

Meri said...

haha, in a more platonic way, this sounds like a good recipe for a gal too!

JayJay said...

Another amazing entry Jos xx. You have an amazing way with words. I got part of the way through my entry but then got bogged down with work.

If I was male I would have this as my mantra. As I'm not male, I won't.

MRanthrope said...

since I don't drink I guess I could so without the Wein...but I'm all about Weib und Gesang in my life!

tracirz said...

Your blog is full of genius. I love it.

shari said...

Well done, Jos xx! D4's was good, too... I didn't get around to it this week, again. ugh! I really enjoy putting these wild words to use. Next time...

As for this week's... hm. Not ALL women are here for the folly of men. Not all women make them look good, either. LOL. With some men, it would take quite a lot to look good.... (not you, E. Just sayin'... has David Goldfarb looked into the mirror lately?)

Jen said...

Oh, I love this one! I just used the phrase "wine, women & song" last week - too bad I wasn't able to say it in German then!

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