Customer Reviews


14 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Man
Most autobiographies are too long, too dull and too self-congratulatory. Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servent isn't. Crisp comes across as completely charming: a lovely, witty man, quick to laugh at himself, ready to listen to others.
He is full of eccentricities aside from the obvious - his decision to promote his homosexuality in a time when such an activity was...
Published on 27 Sep 2004 by rp

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A piece of gay history
Crisp is obviously eloquent and I found the book easy to read and entertaining, though turgid in places. His cynicism and view of the homosexuals lot in life was depressing; he seemed to speak in an authoratative manner based only on opinion and his perception of the world around him. I found him a depressing and rather unpleasant character - however, I also thought him...
Published on 2 Sep 2009 by richie


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Man, 27 Sep 2004
Most autobiographies are too long, too dull and too self-congratulatory. Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servent isn't. Crisp comes across as completely charming: a lovely, witty man, quick to laugh at himself, ready to listen to others.
He is full of eccentricities aside from the obvious - his decision to promote his homosexuality in a time when such an activity was unheard of, by his wearing makeup/dying his hair with henna - including never cleaning his flat ("after the first year the dust really doesn't get any worse") and never reading any books, ("books are for writing, not for reading" - actually a quote from another book of his).
He is endlessly quotable and very funny.
Yet for all the humour the tone of this book is sad. Crisp was endlessly abused, beaten-up and victimised because of his appearance.
The book is also a valuble historical document shedding light on the blacked-out seedy streets of wartime Soho.
And what exactly is a naked civil servent? You'll have to read it to find out, won't you?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 20th Century England - The Outsider's Guide, 3 May 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's extraordinary to think that this autobiography, in which Mr Crisp describes his first 60-odd years, should now appear as almost an introduction to his life. This book and the subsequent film undoubtedly ignited his fame but it was the next 30 years that would make him a star.

Intriguing from the start, we learn his most intimate details but not his real name. His passage through the 20th century reveals a view of England only an outsider could describe. In amongst the personal experiences we see the real nature of society and how its behaviour changes as a result of wartime bombing and post-war peace. How the majority revile him and how certain individuals (not necessarily gay) do not. It is a life affirming joy to learn that some not only accepted him as he was but also celebrated his commitment - even in those dark and uninformed days.

I suppose this book unwittingly questions the notion of normalcy and how, whilst many seek to follow the path prescribed, the real nature of human beings and how they respond to the unusual is not set in stone.

Nevertheless it does describe an eventual period of self-enforced penury in which he is frightened to leave his room. The final parts end quite bitterly as he considers how his inclinations and behaviour have led him to waste his life. But of course he didn't and the next chapter of his story was to turn this assumption upside down.

I'm making this book sound rather dour and such an account in anyone else's hands would be a drab thing indeed. No, Quentin Crisp was a highly intelligent and joyously articulate man and his writings reflect this. His views often seem to contradict accepted beliefs but he does so in a manner that suggests considered thought with the benefit of high intellect. Comparisons with Oscar Wilde are misleading. He does not make comments intended to provoke, his views on Wilde are made clear.

The Naked Civil Servant is a witty and highly enjoyable book. Although Mr Crisp has been regarded as something as a figurehead for the gay community this book should be read by everyone. As a story of a man outside society it's compelling and rewarding. And as a personal documentary on the attitude of society it's hard to beat.

But mostly it's just so rewarding. Funny and tragic in equal measure you'll find yourself smiling and occasionally, as your eyes track through the words, realising you've stopped reading and are considering all of the extraordinary avenues of reason it suggests.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book, 16 Jan 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After reading so many positive reviews about The Naked Civil Servant on Amazon i bought a copy,i wont talk about the book as the other reviews have said everything,all i will say is that once i opened the first page i found that i couldnt put the book down,i absolutely loved it,and i personally think that this is a book that everybody should read before they leave this mortal coil.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Englishman in the Soho, 3 Sep 2002
This is the book that made Quentin Crisp famous (and infamous) and that gave him the title of England's Stately Homo. Quentin was an out homosexual even before the word 'out' was coined, and this is an ironic, and most of the times sarcastic, auto-biography on being a notorious effeminate man in the pre-70 "victorian" London days. Quentin's self-derogatory humour is, of course, only a way of criticising everyone and everything around him and getting away with it. In a Wilde kind of way this is a very very funny book, full of quotable material.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keyne Readers' Review, 7 Sep 2010
By 
C. E. King - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The autobiographical sketch by Quentin Crisp was selected by our Book Group because at first glance it seemed an unexpected and amusing look on life and a book that we had heard about through the author's notoriety in the media ( in the 1960s and later ) and about which we felt we would like to form our own opinions. The resulting opinions tended, sadly, to be somewhat negative. The narrative was considered repetitive, chronologically confusing and in general a dismal and depressing tale. One reader described it as a strange mix of pride in his sexuality and self loathing. However some readers did feel Crisp's story was more one of courage against the odds, and that the tone was lifted with his many quips and quirky insights. Perhaps Crisp's skills as an entertainer, turning humiliating incidents into droll stories, had been enhanced over the years as he `sang for his supper' in the bars of Soho?

It was argued that Crisp had good reasons for offering muddled chronology and failing to mention the names of his acquaintances because his homosexual lifestyle had been illegal and specifics could have compromised his friends and supporters. It was also argued that it was an important text because it was published immediately after the Decriminalization of Male Homosexuality Act went through parliament in 1967 and represented a `scream from Soho' telling just how it had felt to be a person who could not feel remotely safe anywhere but in a few streets in Central London. Crisp arguably writes `a survivor account' that is still worth reading, whatever its failings are in organisation and precision, because it represents the life of one forced to be a social fugitive - an outcast - banished from ordinary life, mobbed even in the metropolis, just because he dyed his hair and wore high heels. At the same time Crisp celebrates the few people who gave him work, lodging, and friendship so that there is a positive thread running through the general wail of daily woe. At least we learned that `the naked civil servant' of the title derived from the fact that Crisp became an artists' model at Saint Martin's School of Art (which is located on the edge of Soho) and was therefore someone paid from government funds to pose in the nude.

Keyne Readers
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A piece of gay history, 2 Sep 2009
By 
Crisp is obviously eloquent and I found the book easy to read and entertaining, though turgid in places. His cynicism and view of the homosexuals lot in life was depressing; he seemed to speak in an authoratative manner based only on opinion and his perception of the world around him. I found him a depressing and rather unpleasant character - however, I also thought him incredibly brave and stong-willed. To have made a conscious decision to live his life the way he wanted to all those years ago, to have faced such hatred, aggression and rejection suggests an amazing strength of character and determination to be. As a character I found little to like, as a human being I was full of admiration.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 21 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have seen the film years ago so decided to buy the book thinking there's always more details & info in a book, nope. Film is better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great !, 6 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this book mainly because Crisp's use of English is so refreshingly humorous.
He had a difficult start but his self deprecating, sardonic humour got him through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars The book is in excellent condition, 16 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Naked Civil Servant [Stranger Than ...] (Paperback)
Have been meaning to read this book for years. Received it on Monday & have nearly read it. Quentin Crisp was obviously a very complex person who was born at the wrong time. He writes as he spoke
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!!!, 10 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the middle of it and can't put it down!!! An interesting insite into the 'old days' and being Gay.People's attitudes never cease to amaze me!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Naked Civil Servant [Stranger Than ...]
The Naked Civil Servant [Stranger Than ...] by Quentin Crisp (Paperback - 15 Dec 2006)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews