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Shakespeare's Insults: Educating Your Wit Paperback – October 3, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (October 3, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517885395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517885390
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Book News

Published by MainSail Press, 944 Northwest 9th Court, Miami, FL 33136. A fun collection of the bard's well-turned barbs, arranged by play, with short sections providing insults for particular occasions and a handy listing for abusive name-calling. 5x7.75" Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

The sharpest stings ever to snap from the tip of an English-speaking tongue are here at hand, ready to be directed at the knaves, villains, and coxcombs of the reader's choice. Culled from 38 plays, here are the best 5,000 examples of Shakespeare's glorious invective, arranged by play, in order of appearance, with helpful act and line numbers for easy reference, along with an index of topical scorn appropriate to particular characters and occasions. Line art.

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
Very fun and enjoyable!
Linda D
The book begins with Part I providing a list of ready to use insulting names for the act of "name-calling."
Jeffrey Peter A. Hauck
This is a fabulous little book that every high school English teacher should have in their arsenal.
Megan Romer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "boy_howdy" on January 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Based on the premise that "people NEED insults," Hill and Ottchen here offer a catalogue of every insult the immortal bard ever published. It must have been a tedious collection process, but the work was well worth it; as anyone even the slightest bit familiar with Shakespeare would expect, here in this isolated form his insults reveal themselves as powerful, picturesque, and scathing. The language and the diversity of emotion and expression will not fail to impress you.
My one quibble with the collection is that is seems rudderless in its organization. If we are intended to use the language as our own, why does most of the book consist of a list of insults organized by PLAY (which is hard to use, and a bit tedious to read unless you are treating the book as a concordance for the play itself) rather than by type of insult or applicability? (The final section offers this, but it is VERY short). In terms of content and concept, though, this book makes for a great addition to a classroom, resource collection, letter-writing desktop, or to the Shakeseare-lover's coffee table -- a good gift for the scholar or bibliophile.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Virginia J. Sykes on May 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Not a book to be read from cover to cover, but used as a reference. Categories (lawyers, doctors, fools, etc.) of phrases and lines from the "Compleat Works" which are mildly to outrageously insulting. The editor stretches the word insult a bit, since at least some of the epithets included might be affectionately used. Without good actors to say them amusingly, these lines might not seem as hilarious or insulting as they are, but for those trying to educate about Shakespeare or wishing to show off a bit, this book is wonderful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Megan Romer on November 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous little book that every high school English teacher should have in their arsenal. When the jock in the back row groans when you ask him to read aloud from Hamlet, call him a burly-boned clown. When the popular kid in the front row claims to have forgotten to read the assigned pages from Macbeth, call him Triton of the minnows. Okay, maybe don't, but using it to help you find the curses and insults within the texts, and therefore to help you point them out to your students, will definitely make Shakespeare more fun for them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Peter A. Hauck VINE VOICE on August 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Wayne Hill and Cynthia Ottchen have compiled a very useful list of insults from the works of the Master Bard himself!

The book begins with Part I providing a list of ready to use insulting names for the act of "name-calling." Part II examines Shakespeare's major plays and the insulting lines therefrom. Part III ends the book with a list of Ready Insults For Particular Occasions.

Trust me, upon purchase and use of this text, when the content is memorized, you will never be at a loss for words again! Commendable work. Outstanding. Five stars.

Example: "You foul-mouthed and caluminous knave; you rabble of vile confederates, and herd of boils and plagues, etc."
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ceejayford on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I thought this was going to have definitions of the various terms used by Shakespeare, but it only has lists and lists of insults. I admit many of the terms are somewhat straightforward, but I really was trying to find something that would "educate" me about how the insults came about and perhaps their meaning at that time. If you are looking for lists of insults, however, this is the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
LitCrit doesn't generally impress me much; I'm not sure why I should subsidize people who feel this is in the benefit of society. I don't normally have much time for folks who meticulously catalog things out of fiction; i.e. exhaustive lists of names of people in "The Iliad", the studies of Tolkien's constructed languages, the trivia of Harry Potter, etc. "Shakespeare's Insults" however...

With insults cataloged by play and application, this book serves several ends. Should a child or subordinate fail to exercise proper and suitable speech, you can point out that "more of your conversation would infect my brain", and as a corrective training, have them copy out a few pages of insult and profanity superior to the run of the mill in twenty-first century United States. This book clearly illustrates that Shakespeare is livelier than most high school teachers will allow it to be in their class rooms. And it provides a repository of useful words and phrases for those moments and individuals in life that the 'F' word simply falls short of.

I enjoyed this book and have gotten great use out of it.

E. M. Van Court
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By jessica on January 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like the book, but I think it would be better if the book had included the definition of what Shakespeare meant.
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By fulene on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very fun book with a good index to find favorite quotes.Memorize these and use them on your friends!
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