The Naked Civil Servant (book)

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The Naked Civil Servant
First edition cover
Author Quentin Crisp
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Autobiography
Publisher Jonathan Cape
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 224 pp
Followed by How to Become A Virgin

The Naked Civil Servant is the 1968 autobiography of witty gay icon Quentin Crisp, adapted into a 1975 film of the same name starring John Hurt.

The book began as a 1964 radio interview with Crisp conducted by his friend and fellow eccentric Philip O'Connor. A managing director at Jonathan Cape heard the interview and commissioned the publication. Having sold only 3,500 copies when first released, the book became a success in republication following the television movie broadcast.[1]

The book contains many anecdotes about Crisp's life from childhood to middle age, including troubles he faced by refusing to hide his homosexuality and flamboyant lifestyle during a time when such behaviour was criminalized in the United Kingdom. Crisp also recalls his various jobs including book designer, nude model, and prostitute.[1]

The title derives from Crisp's quip about being an art model: employed by schools, models are ultimately paid by the Department for Education. They are essentially civil employees who are naked during office hours.


  1. ^ a b "Crisp: The naked civil servant". BBC News. 1999-11-21. Retrieved 2008-04-06.