David Profumo

Not Very Nice

The Dictionary of Disgusting Facts

By

Futura 157pp £1.95 order from our bookshop

Many people will find this article extremely offensive – Ed.

The most revolting word I know is ‘mung’ (US 1950’s) which describes the act of whacking a pregnant woman across the abdomen with a baseball bat. But it all depends on what you find disgusting. Few men would be able to swallow down a glassful of their own expectorated saliva, but most find the vaginal secretions of a total stranger to be a subject of happy interest. The mother of Swift’s friend Mrs. Pilkington threw up her dinner on reading one of his ‘boudoir’ poems, yet it first appeared in print in The Gentleman’s Magazine opposite a page of figures relating to the National Debt. Taste is so subjective that the compilers of The Dictionary of Disgusting Facts have opened their defences wide with its title: the result is something of an own goal.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,