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Scorn The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History by Matthew Parris

Scorn The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History

The Real World   Humour   
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A completely updated trawl through tongue scorching invective from the ancient world to yesterday (almost). As well as being breathtakingly rude so many of the comments are outrageously funny although anyone on the receiving end of such rudeness can only comfort themselves at some of the spectacular errors of judgement in history. How about this journalist’s comment “…a slang-whanging stump-speaker of which all parties are ashamed….” This was about Abraham Lincoln one of an endless parade of public figures to be misjudged. Mathew Parris has done a fine job in rounding up this parade of invective choosing the best of the skewering and the blackest of barbs. ~ Sue Baker

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The Biteback Dictionary of Humorous Political Quotations, Fred Metcalf (Editor) Shakespeare’s Insults Desk Diary 2017 Hardback 96 pages Flame Tree Publishing 23rd August 2016 9781783618767


Scorn The Wittiest and Wickedest Insults in Human History by Matthew Parris

'Authors are easy to get on with - if you're fond of children.' Michael Joseph, publisher 'May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits' Arab curse 'I married beneath me - all women do.' Nancy Asquith 'Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.' Albert Einstein 'Your blistered crotch!' Insult from the Marquesas Islands There's no pleasure like a perfectly-turned put-down (when it's directed at somebody else, of course) but Matthew Parris's Scorn is sharply different from the standard collections. So here is a selection of the funniest, sharpest, rudest and most devastating insults in history, from ancient Roman graffiti to the battlefields of Twitter. Drawing on bile from such masters as Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth I, Boris Johnson, Groucho Marx, Princess Anne, Winston Churchill, Mae West and Alastair Campbell - which form an exchange between voices down the ages - Scorn shows that abuse can be an art form, and this collection includes extended literary invective as well as short verbal shin-kicks. Encompassing literature, art, politics, showbiz, marriage, gender, nationality and religion, Matthew Parris's sublime collection is the perfect companion for the festive season, whether you're searching for the perfect elegant riposte, the rudest polite letter ever written, or a brutal verbal sledgehammer.


'The ideal stocking-filler - miniature in size and big on malevolence' -- Francis Wheen Mail on Sunday

'The clearest pen and the most fastidious sense of quality' -- Alan Clark The Times

'A beautiful collection of insults down the ages. Parris has a feel for language, a sense of history and a wonderful wit' -- Books of the Year Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Matthew Parris

Matthew Parris was born in Africa and grew up in Cyprus, Rhodesia, Jamaica and Britain. He worked for the Foreign Office and Margaret Thatcher before becoming an MP in 1979. After serving in parliament for seven years (he claims as his only success the abolition of imprisonment for prostitutes) he quit to present LWT’s ‘Weekend World’.

For thirteen years The Times’s parliamentary sketchwriter and a regular travel writer, reviewer, broadcaster and Spectator columnist, and has won Best Political Journalist at the British Press Awards 2015. He is the author of several books, including the longstanding travel-book success, Inca Kola, his autobiography Chance Witness and the bestselling The Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase. He lives in London and Derbyshire.

Author photo © Jack Hill

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Book Info

Publication date

10th November 2016


Matthew Parris

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Profile Books Ltd


432 pages


The Real World

Humour collections & anthologies



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