The Quentin Kind: visual narrative and The Naked Civil Servant

Armstrong, Mark (2012) The Quentin Kind: visual narrative and The Naked Civil Servant. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This thesis offers a close reading of Quentin Crisp’s auto/biographical representations, most particularly The Naked Civil Servant. Published in 1968, Crisp’s autobiography was dramatized for Thames Television in 1975, a film that would prove seminal in the history of British broadcasting and something of a ‘quantum leap’ in the medium’s representation of gay lives. As an interpretative study, it offers a scope of visual and narrative analyses that assess Crisp’s cultural figure – his being both an ‘icon’ in gay history and someone against which gay men’s normative sense of masculinity could be measured. According to particular thematic concerns that allow for the correspondent reading of the visual and the literary auto/biographical text, this thesis considers the reception of that image and the binary meanings of fashioning it embodies. It explores not the detailed materiality of Crisp’s figure but its effects – the life that his fashioning determined and the fashioning of that life in textual discourse and media rhetoric. Observing Crisp as a performer of the auto/biographical, the following themes are addressed: the biopic, its tropes and ‘the body too much’; desire, otherness and the ‘great dark man’; the circumscribed life of the art school model; the ‘exile’ of a Chelsea bedsit; and the drag of a queer dotage.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: autobiography, gay, Quentin Crisp, biopic, representation
Subjects: W600 Cinematics and Photography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 15:24
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 15:23

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