'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.
A totally up-to-date compendium of the sharpest, wittiest and downright rudest insults in human history
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
Matthew Parris worked for the Foreign Office before serving as an MP. He now writes as a columnist for The Times and the Spectator, and in 2011 won the Best Columnist award at the British Press Awards. He is the author of several books, including his autobiography Chance Witness and the bestselling The Spanish Ambassador's Suitcase.