The Naked Civil Servant (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
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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.
hand-cart. I was found on Sutton Downs two or three miles from home by one of my mother's friends. Only about two hours had passed, but the whole neighbourhood had been stirred 9 up and my mother had telephoned the police. This was nice. Unfortunately the doctor who examined me on my return advised my mother never to question me about the incident. That was a pity, for now I can remember nothing of my journey. For many years I was troubled by two half-formed mem· ories. In one the ground is
they might be vamped into it. The main field of operations for this particular strategy was the dimly lighted public lavatories in the less populous 8o areas of London. While one detective in plain clothes wandered about with vigilant unconcern on the opposite side of the street, his accomplice, selected by his superiors because his natural endowments made him specially suited to the work, stood inside the urinal 'flashing' - demonstrating his do-it-yourself apparatus to anyone who happened to
made to read the same pieces so often. When she decided that it was time for me to read to myself she handed me fairy stories and from them I graduated to the works of Mr Haggard. Having exhausted these I gave up reading altogether and from then on held a view of literature which I can best express by this anecdote. A friend of mine had a landlady who, when she saw him putting on his hat and advancing towards the front door, would say, 'Going out.' Should she find him at the sink, holding his
find themselves in the gallery of the ballet. There they sit for many years feeding their imaginations on those fitful glimpses of a dancer's 133 hand or foot which seats in the upper parts of theatres afford. When I was young I too 'adored' the ballet. For me its charm was that one of the dancers might break his neck, but what appeals to these girls is the moonlit atmosphere of love and death which the withering hand of truth can never compromise. During the intervals they hold hands, numbed
His greatest burden was time. Now for the first time I understood the true purpose of the radio, in the wailing, crooning, stuttering stream of which he bathed himself every waking hour. Its function is not to entertain but to drown the ticking of all clocks. Having, myself, spent so many happy hours alone, frequently doing nothing but breathing, I was bewildered to discover that for my friend spare time was an imposition. If one event, say Sunday lunch, ended before another such as the movies