The Naked Civil Servant (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

The Naked Civil Servant (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)

Quentin Crisp

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0141180536

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A comical and poignant memoir of a gay man living life as he pleased in the 1930s

In 1931, gay liberation was not a movement—it was simply unthinkable. But in that year, Quentin Crisp made the courageous decision to "come out" as a homosexual. This exhibitionist with the henna-dyed hair was harrassed, ridiculed and beaten. Nevertheless, he claimed his right to be himself—whatever the consequences. The Naked Civil Servant is both a comic masterpiece and a unique testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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my intention must be eliminated. I began to walk faster and learned never to look strangers in the eye. Frequently in the street I swept past people I knew quite well. I once did this to my brother. This was just as well. He was with a 34 girl who said, 'Did you see that?', to which he replied, 'Yes. Matter of fact, I've seen it before.' Without knowing it, I was acquiring that haughty bearing which is characteristic ofso many eccentrics. What other expression would you expect to find on the

had no job and most of the time he had none. We were driven to some dodgy expedients, and he had not only to run risks on my behalf but also to put up with my. unconcealed disgust for the methods by which he provided food that my moral compunction never prevented me from eating. As we all know from witnessing the consuming jealousy of husbands who are never faithful, people do not confine the~nselves to the emotions to which they are entitled. Our great money-saving device was used on the chain

was giving voice to her broad-minded views and I was shaking my thin-lipped head, I had interrupted her for a moment while I went to the kitchen for a cup. As I passed through to the other room of the fiat, I came upon Mr Czech and the art student clasped in a passionate embrace. Here were forces of permissiveness that not even Mrs Czech would have condoned. But Mr Cromwell is not mocked. Soon the man in this sordid tableau was to go mad and the woman to become a nun. 1 did not utter a word on

cling on that at one moment I caught hold, by accident, of an art directorship. I had been called by telephone to the top floor of the 125 building over a Chinese restaurant in W ardour Street. Whe_n I arrived I was asked by a man with a delicatessen accent if I would paint the sets of a film that was tp go into production there the next day. I had never painted scenery in my life, but I said I would if he would tell me what I was to do. When I turned up the following day, this man was not

ten-minute breaks every hour). I was glad of this. It made the evening a representative test of my endurance. When at 128 ten o'clock I found myself still conscious, I knew that yet another way of earning a living had been presented to me.. Though being a model was such a great physical strain, there was a sense in which the work was easy to do. It required no aptitude, no education, no references and no previous experience. You had only to say 'I do' and you were stuck with it like marriage.

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