A poison pen letter
is a letter
or note containing unpleasant, abusive
statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously
. Poison pen letters are usually composed and sent to upset the recipient. They were an outlet for the quick temper of Beethoven
, who wrote several, while one figures in the life of Francis Bacon
With the advent of e-mail and the general decline in letter writing, poison pen letters have become something of a rarity.