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Y ou are not yet a true literati until you know how to demean your enemies in well-crafted literary insults. What are literary insults?

The definition is tricky but I’ll try.

You know you’ve received a literary insult when instead of being pissed off, you find yourself impressed at the sheer brilliance of the offender’s diction, word play, imagery — their verbal virtuoso.

Crafting literary insults is a rare skill but only because people never take the time out to learn how to do it. It’s actually quite easy.

Check out these examples we found at guardian.com. Use them as a template and start assembling an arsenal of literary insults for your next cocktail party.

literary-insult-guardian-fielding
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. Photograph: Ronald Grant

literary-insult-guardian-pratchett

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett. Photograph: UK Celebrity/Alamy

literary-insult-guardian-dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

literary-insult-guardian-vonnegut
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Features

literary-insult-guardian-christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar

Click on to guardian.com for more! HERE.

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

6 Responses to ““May Your Genitals Sprout Wings and Fly Away” — Ouch! 5 Literary Insults You Should Know” Subscribe

  1. Oyin Oludipe June 6, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    Emotional fuckwittage? Jeez

  2. Ainehi Edoro June 6, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Yup! Bridget Jones is a wild one. Love her, though.

  3. Gbolahan Badmus June 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    I love your website!!!

  4. Ainehi Edoro June 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    Thanks Gbolahan!

  5. MIRA June 11, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    I AM NOT A PARTY TO ANY FORM OF INCOMPETENT ESCAPEES OF PRIMARY ELEMENTS SPEWING OUT DEFECTED VENOM’S OF NO EFFECTUAL SUBSTANCE.

  6. Ikechukwu Nwaogu June 20, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    this site is wonderful! i met Ainehi on twitter, and since she told me about it,I’ve not had chance to look it up. Awesome! lemme get back to reading abeg.

Leave a Reply to Gbolahan Badmus

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