Great moments in bad breath history, part 2: A glance into poems, plays, novels
SUMMARY: Here are some more notable mentions of halitosis, taken from poems, novels and plays, both classic and contemporary. Remember: if these excerpts make you begin to suspect that you have bad breath, trying reaching for a specialty breath freshener, a tongue scraper, an oral care probiotics kit or, at the very least, a toothbrush.
Posted: August 23, 2011
Here are some more notable mentions of halitosis, taken from poems, novels and plays, both classic and contemporary. Remember: if these excerpts make you begin to suspect that you have bad breath, trying reaching for a specialty breath freshener, a tongue scraper, an oral care probiotics kit or, at the very least, a toothbrush.
Benedick: "Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee."
Beatrice: "Fould words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed."
-William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
"This marriage dissolved
I cannot imagine why
Must be my bad breath.
Or it may have been
Any of those other things.
...I stopped listening."
-Derek Dubois, "Halitosis"
"Not two days ago you saw the loveliness and grace of the peerless Dulcinea in all its fullness and natural conformation, and I saw it in the ugliness and wretchedness of an uncouth peasant girl, with cataracts in my eyes and with foul breath in her mouth." -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
"Wonder who's playing. Nice touch. Must be Cowley. Musical. Knows whatever note you play. Bad breath he has, poor chap." -James Joyce, Ulysses
"Her answers were quick and lucid. Her hair was dirty, and her teeth were a bad shade of yellow. Webster could smell the foul breath from six feet away." -Anita Shreve, Rescue
"He was tall and skinny, a young captain with bad breath. For a half hour he lectured us on oral hygiene, demonstrating the proper flossing and brushing techniques, then afterward he opened up a shop in a small field tent and we all took turns going in for personal exams." -Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
"The Patriarch Scrofulus of Cappadocia was sadly afflicted in this respect, but that even his best friends would not tell him. His breath was thought to arise from a rotting soul." -Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man
"His heart astir he pushed in the door of the Burton restaurant. Stink gripped his trembling breath: pungent meatjuice, slush of greens. See the animals feed. Men men men. Perched on high stools by the bar, hats shoved back, at the tables calling for more bread no charge, swilling, wolfing gobfuls of sloppy food, their eyes bulging, wiping wetted mustaches." -James Joyce, Ulysses