Insult of the Week: may his head rot off

In chapter 15 of Bleak House, the narrator Esther Summerson and her guardian Mr. Jarndcye encounter Mr. Gridley, a passionate man from Shropshire, who is embroiled in a labyrinthine court case that has permanently soured his view of the legal system.  Although Esther (who is herself a ward in Chancery) and Mr. Jarndyce have not,…

Insult of the Week: A “stiff-necked, arrogant imbecile, pig-headed numskull”

This week’s insult is brought to you by Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. During an ongoing feud between Mr Lawrence Boythorn and Sir Leicester Dedlock over “the green pathway by the old parsonage-house” (that neither man actually seems to want), Boythorn explains their exchanges on the subject “The fellow, by his agent, or secretary, or somebody,…

Insult of the Week: “An extraordinary specimen of human fungus”

In chapter 26 of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House (1853), Mr. George Rouncewell and his assistant Phil Squod are busy preparing for a day of work in the shooting gallery when they are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Grandfather Smallweed and his granddaughter Judy. Mr. Smallweed describes their engagement of a hackney cab for the journey and…