Friday, October 28, 2016

The Greatest Insults in English Literature

I despise profanity in literature. An "F" word inserted into a script or book is a wasted opportunity for a creative alternative. We wouldn't even be reading Jane Austen today is she just lazily resorted to vulgar slang. As inspiration to future would-be authors, I have here assembled some of the best literary insults, zingers and burns. Enjoy. -Heinz Schmitz

“Thou art a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver’d, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mungril bitch.” King Lear, William Shakespeare

“You blithering idiot! … You festering gumboil! You fleabitten fungus! … You bursting blister! You moth-eaten maggot!” Matilda, Roald Dahl

“If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.” Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut

"Thou wretch! - thou vixen! - thou shrew!" said I to my wife on the morning after our wedding, "thou witch! - thou hag! - thou whipper-snapper! - thou sink of iniquity - thou fiery-faced quintessence of all that is abominable! - thou - thou-" Loss of Breath, Edgar Allan Poe

“A deistical prater, fit to sit in the chimney-corner of a pot-house, and make blasphemous comments on the one greasy newspaper fingered by beer-swilling tinkers.” Scenes of Clerical Life, George Eliot

“I never saw anybody take so long to dress, and with such little result.” The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

“I misjudged you… You’re not a moron. You’re only a case of arrested development.” The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

"He liked fishing and seemed to take pride in being able to like such a stupid occupation." Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

“The man is as useless as nipples on a breastplate.” A Feast for Crows, George R.R. Martin

"He was one of the numerous and varied legion of dullards, of half-animated abortions, conceited, half-educated coxcombs, who attach themselves to the idea most in fashion only to vulgarize it and who caricature every cause they serve, however sincerely." Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you will forgive me for being personal — I do not like your face.” Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

"The simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me." The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

'There are two ways of disliking poetry. One is to dislike it. The other is to read Pope.' — Oscar Wilde

'Jane Austen's books, too. are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.' — Mark Twain

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” Mark Twain on Jane Austen

'Reading Proust is like bathing in someone else's dirty water.' — Alexander Woollcott

'This novel is not to be tossed lightly aside, but to be hurled with great force.' — Dorothy Parker

“That’s not writing, that’s typing.” Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac

“The lousy bastard who is a pickpocket of concepts, not a thief, which is too big a word for him…This monstrosity is not opposed to science — oh no! — not to pure science, only to applied science, only to anything that improves man’s life on earth!” Ayn Rand on C.S. Lewis

“An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.” Henry James on Edgar Allan Poe

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” William Faulkner On Ernest Hemingway

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” Ernest Hemingway On William Faulkner

“I’m mortally sorry that you are not worth knocking down!” Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

She bellies up to the gourmet cracker-barrel and delivers laid-back wisdom with the serenity of a down-home Buddha who has discovered that stool softeners really work. Florence King, Molly Ivins

He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it. T.S. Eliot on Henry James

"May your genitals sprout wings and fly away." Terry Pratchett

“A pox o’ your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!” Shakespeare, The Tempest

“I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” Mark Twain

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” Oscar Wilde

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” Oscar Wilde

“A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver’d, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least syllable of thy addition.” Shakespeare, King Lear

“She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when.'” P.G. Wodehouse

“The dress looked like it had been sown in a rage and put on in a tempest” Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“A strange horrible business, but I suppose good enough for Shakespeare’s day.” Queen Victoria about  King Lear

"He had one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two." Charles Dickens

He has Van Gogh's ear for music. Billy Wilder

The world is rid of Lord Byron, but the deadly slime of his touch still remains. John Constable

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech. George Bernard Shaw

The French are sawed-off sissies who eat snails and slugs and cheese that smells like people's feet. Utter cowards who force their own children to drink wine, they gibber like baboons even when you try to speak to them in their own wimpy language. PJ O'Rourke

The French invented the only known cure for dandruff. It is called the guillotine. P. G. Wodehouse

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamourous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H.L. Mencken

"'It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,' he said. 'Have you thought of going into teaching?'" Mort by Terry Pratchett

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune, Mr Worthing, to lose both looks like carelessness” — The Importance Of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

“The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.” — Coriolanus, William Shakespeare

“I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.” — Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

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