Publishers Random House have just posted to Facebook a link to an article called '10 Legendary Bad Boys of Literature', which features such little charmers as Amis père et fils, the oddly unattractive Michel Houellebecq, and a stomach-churning shot of Norman Mailer in his favourite legs-spread pose, which would have obviated the need for his tailor ever to ask which side he dressed.
Personally I think the Bad Girls of Literature were infinitely more charming without being in any way less talented or less Bad. I'm sure there were more, especially in other cultures and literatures, but here's a list for starters.
'I have always been principally interested in men for sex. I've always thought any sane woman would be a lover of women because loving men is such a mess. I have always wished I'd fall in love with a woman. Damn.'
'The trade of authorship is a violent and indestructible obsession.'
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
'Nature has not placed us in an inferior rank to men, no more than the females of other animals, where we see no distinction of capacity, though I am persuaded if there was a commonwealth of rational horses... it would be an established maxim amongst them that a mare could not be taught to pace.'
'Fantastic fortune, thou deceitful light,
That cheats the weary traveller by night,
Though on a precipice each step you tread,
I am resolved to follow where you lead.'
'I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.'
'Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.'
'I am so wily and feminine that I could live by your side for a lifetime and deceive you afresh each day.'
'I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.'
'When she raises her eyelids it's as if she were taking off all her clothes.'