Jim Holt sets out to Review Quentin Crisp by Jim Holt

Jim Holt

Jim Holt sets out to Review Quentin Crisp


Although the stately homes of England remain by and large where they were erected, many of the stately homos of England have transplanted themselves to the United States, to our (I speak as an American) good fortune. One of these is Quentin Crisp. Crisp has been living in the East Village in New York since the mid Seventies and is well-loved here. A few years back I saw him on David Letterman’s late night TV show (a very big deal) talking about how friendly New Yorkers were to him. For instance, he said, when he took a taxi the other day and inquired about the fare upon arriving at his destination, the driver told him there was no charge. (‘Gee,’ responded Letterman, ‘that never happens to me. I guess I should read those instructions posted on the back of the cabbie’s seat.’)

Like Tom Wolfe and the late Andy Warhol, there is no mistaking Crisp when you see him in public (except possibly for a woman if you are hopelessly philistine); as far as I know, he is the only octogenarian in the greater metropolitan area who invariably sports a blue coif,

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