June 21, 2004

Cunt: A Cultural History - Yes it's that rather rude word, I'm sure you recognise it. But it has a rich and vibrant past that no lover of the English language - indeed, no lover at all - can afford to be unfamiliar with. Also, the Wikipedia entry. Or should I say.. er.. listing. Heh heh.

My favorite usage of the word is to be found by the maistros Peter Cook & Dudley Moore (both dead cunts) on their famous Derek & Clive albums. My little cunties.

  • I studied English Literature at A level, including Chaucer's Wife of Bath which makes liberal use of the word 'queynte' ... My English teacher was a middle aged man with an incredibly plummy accent who took real pleasure in placing particular emphasis on the word and watching (some of) his pupils squirm with embarrassment ...
  • Ditto the Miller's Tale, which is even funnier, I reckon. Geoff had a great sense of humour, he did. :)
  • Prologue to the Miller's Tale: Now, sir, and eft sir, so befell the case, That on a day this Hendy Nicholas Fell with this younge wife to rage and play, While that her husband was at Oseney, As clerkes be full subtle and full quaint. And privily he caught her by the queint, And said; "Y-wis, but if I have my will, For derne love of thee, leman, I spill." And helde her fast by the haunche bones, And saide "Leman, love me well at once, Or I will dien, all so God me save." Lord Rochester, "The Imperfect Enjoyment" [1680] Naked she lay, clasped in my longing arms, I filled with love, and she all over charms; Both equally inspired with eager fire, Melting through kindness, flaming in desire. With arms,legs,lips close clinging to embrace, She clips me to her breast, and sucks me to her face. Her nimble tongue, Love's lesser lightening, played Within my mouth, and to my thoughts conveyed Swift orders that I should prepare to throw The all-dissolving thunderbolt below. My fluttering soul, sprung with the painted kiss, Hangs hovering o'er her balmy brinks of bliss. But whilst her busy hand would guide that part Which should convey my soul up to her heart, In liquid raptures I dissolve all o'er, Melt into sperm and, and spend at every pore. A touch from any part of her had done't: Her hand, her foot, her very look's a cunt. Smiling, she chides in a kind murmuring noise, And from her body wipes the clammy joys, When, with a thousand kisses wandering o'er My panting bosom, "Is there then no more?" She cries. "All this to love and rapture's due; Must we not pay a debt to pleasure too?" But I, the most forlorn, lost man alive, To show my wished obedience vainly strive: I sigh, alas! and kiss, but cannot swive. Eager desires confound my first intent, Succeeding shame does more success prevent, And rage at last confirms me impotent. Ev'n her fair hand, which might bid heat return To frozen age, and make cold hermits burn, Applied to my dead cinder, warms no more Than fire to ashes could past flames restore. Trembling, confused, despairing, limber, dry, A wishing, weak, unmoving lump I lie. This dart of love, whose piercing point, oft tried, With virgin blood ten thousand maids have dyed; Which nature still directed with such art That it through every cunt reached every heart - Stiffly resolved, 'twould carelessly invade Woman or man, nor aught its fury stayed: Where'er it pierced, a cunt it found or made - Now languid lies in this unhappy hour, Shrunk up and sapless like a withered flower. Thou treacherous, base deserter of my flame, False to my passion, fatal to my fame, Through what mistaken magic dost thou prove So true to lewdness, so untrue to love? What oyster-cinder-beggar-common whore Didst thou e'er fail in all thy life before? When vice, disease, and scandal lead the way, With what officious haste dost thou obey! Like a rude, roaring hector in the streets Who scuffles, cuffs, and justles all he meets, But if his king or country claim his aid, The rakehell villain shrinks and hides his head; Ev'n so thy brutal valour is displayed, Breaks every stew, does each small whore invade, But when great Love the onset does command, Base recreant to thy prince, thou dar'st not stand. Worst part of me, and henceforth hated most, Through all the town a common fucking-post, On whom each whore relieves her tingling cunt As hogs do rub themselves on gates and grunt, May'st thou to ravenous chancres be a prey, Or in consuming weepings waste away; May strangury and stone thy days attend; May'st thou ne'er piss, who did refuse to spend When all my joys did on false thee depend. And may ten thousand abler pricks agree To do the wronged Corinna right for thee.
  • Great post as usual, Nostril. Reminds me that I want to read the well-known book about that other troubling word. Our taboo surrounding the word ensures that it is rarely discussed, though, when it is, the superlatives come thick and fast. The bad puns write themselves. Pardon me, I have to go wash my superlative.
  • 'Vagina' Sonnet   Is 'vagina' suitable for use in a sonnet? I don't suppose so. A famous poet once told me, 'Vagina's ugly.' Meaning, of course, the sound of it. In poems. Meanwhile he inserts his penis frequently into his verse, calling it, seriously, 'My Penis'. It is short, I know, and dignified. I mean of course the sound of it. In poems. The whole thing is unfortunate, but petty, like my hangup concerning English Dept memos headed "Mr/Mrs/Miss" - only a fishbone In the throat of the revolution - a waste of brains - to be concerned about this minor issue of my cunt's good name.                                       Joan Larkin
  • "The most heavily tabooed of all English words" Uh, what about the N-word?
  • Nickelback?
  • The N word is probably one of the most reviled American-English words. It probably wouldn't even raise an eyebrow elsewhere in the English speaking world. OK, well maybe just an eyebrow...
  • Klepton, I think you'd find that if you referred to a group of New Zealand Maori as a "pack of niggers", say, you'd find it raised considerably more than eyebrows.
  • languagehat-- I love that poem. Thank you.
  • Yah, yah, I served my time in a Lit Crit (aka "Lit Clit") program studying -- what else -- metafiction! Anything's game: gender, race, etc and etc ad infinitum. The word is still offensive because if someone calls me that, it shuts me down because I am so horrified. Why that is I don't know; it's visceral. But I want to beat the crap out of whoever utters it, regardless of its worthy literary origin. Consider modern usage; don't get caught up in cutesy historical reference.
  • Go cynnbad!
  • Alas, between the cradle and the grave -- Wise, foolish, empty, lasting, profound, Or, as we say, 'mere' words -- with which we cover All we know and hope and dream we hold and have.
  • Ironic that cynnbad's name is constructed from the very roots of the naughty word's own structure! What a cunning stunt!
  • *tips hat to nostril*
  • that would be better if Matthew Hunt had let his brother Michael put it up on his site instead.
  • the page moved. And muy excellente it is.