An Introduction by Phillip Ward

In the early part of 1999, Quentin Crisp's agent informed him that his published memoirs would soon be printed in one volume by Quality Paperback Books Triangle Classics. The Naked Civil Servant, How To Become A Virgin, and Resident Alien would be collected and printed under one cover. Mr. Crisp was intrigued, to say the least. He was asked to compose a Preface and an Afterword to this new omnibus. He was eager to please and began scribbling his notes.

As Mr. Crisp continued thinking about what to write, I brought along my tape recorder to assist him in compiling his thoughts. I would then transcribe them and provide a printout in large type for him to read and edit. Mr. Crisp happily welcomed the idea, so we began working on the task ahead in rapid flow. Mr. Crisp wrote over 5000 words! The publisher wanted only 2000 words. Editing the material was rather fun and interesting to witness as he scratched away at text for deletion, reducing the text to little over 2000 words.

What you are about to read is the edited version of the QPB material, well sort of. I did reinsert a couple of phrases that Mr. Crisp was reluctant to scratch away. However, I did leave the QPB version in tact. Dusty Answers will include the complete unedited text!

It is important to know that QPB Triangle Classics brought "together the autobiographical writings of the celebrated counter-cultural gadfly Quentin Crisp, whose life and works are testimony to one gifted man's enduring powers of originality and self-invention. . . . It is Mr. Crisp's brilliant memoirs that distinguish him as one of the most innovative authors of the twentieth century.

"A lively Preface and a poignant Afterword, which Mr. Crisp wrote especially for this omnibus shortly before his death, offer us behind-the-scenes context for the self-described 'curious misadventures.' His was a life lived with extraordinary courage, as this edition of his work so vividly demonstrates."

Copyright © 1999–2009 by Quentin Crisp and Phillip Ward,
from Dusty Answers (forthcoming), Mr. Crisp's final book.
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