Book Review: “Lobcocks and Fartleberries – 18th Century Insults to Confound your Foes” by Francis Grose

10 January, 2012 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

“Have you enjoyed this book? If so, why not write a review on your favourite website?”

Oh well, if you ask so nicely….

“I’ll ring a peal in your ears if you shouldn’t stop staring at my apple dumpling shop, you bracket-faced, beetle-browed ensign bearer!”

Ahhh… how poetic! Beats “I’ll tell ye where to stick it if ye don’ stop staring at me boobs, ye ugly tosser with bushy eyebrows, ye!” anytime.

How poor our language has become, especially in the swearing department. Today it’s all about body parts and variations of the term “intercourse”, sometimes with additional animal names. How boring, how uninspiring!

So it’s with great joy that I inform you that Mr Francis Grose’s “A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue”, published in 1785, has been turned into a delightful little book which I can only recommend for purchase.

LOBCOCKS AND FARTLEBERRIES
18th Century Insulsts to Confound your Foes

by Francis Grose
with illustrations by David Procter
ISBN: 9781849531016
Published by Summersdale

Social interaction is so much easier if you can hold your disputes in the language of the 18th century. That colleague who’s been annoying you for years? Tell him that his garrett is unfurnished, and he’ll head for IKEA rather than being upset because you called him an empty-headed idiot.

Reality shows would be more appealing if they’d be called “The Only Way is Gilfurt” or “Keeping Up with the Hopper-Arses”, and why not call football players the gollumpuses they are? While we’re at it, “Gigg” means nose, a hog’s snout, a high one-horse chaise and a woman’s privities. Who’d have thought?

I petition for a copy of this book to be sent to all politicians involved in the next elections. They could profit from brushing up their vocabulary, totty-headed, rusty-gutted muckworms that they are. Imagine the possibilities – “Question Time” would never be the same again!

“Lobcocks and Fartleberries” is an interesting and amusing journey through our lingual heritage. Colourful words you’ve never heard of, terms which have changed their meaning during the centuries (maybe we should stop calling Madonna “Madge”), and little gems of vulgar wit make it a fascinating read. Bonus points for David Procter’s spot-on drawings.

This is a portrait of the formidable Mr. Grose. His father was a Swiss immigrant, a fact which fills me with great personal glee.

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Entry filed under: 18th century, art, books, resource. Tags: , , , .

Benzy Skepp: IKEA’s Age of Sail Fabric (no, really!) 2011 in Review: The Joyful Molly didn’t do too bad.

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