'He's 100% political herpes. Back in six months whatever you do. Or three days, like last time.' Camilla Long on Nigel Farage
'You're as ugly as a salad.' Bulgarian insult
'I'm going to beat him so bad he'll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.' Muhammed Ali
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. Here are 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, Donald Trump, Groucho Marx, Princess Anne, Winston Churchill, Nigel Farage, Mae West and Alastair Campbell – which form an exchange between voices down the ages – Scorn shows that abuse can be an art form. 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.