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.
About the author
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.