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The Naked and the Nude

The Naked and the Nude

by Robert Graves

Art and Culture Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Their dishabille in rhetoric, (16)

Them sure is some fancy words. They point to some pretty heavy irony in this line, though. After all, we're reading about rhetoric's twisted ways in a poem. But our speaker doesn't care about details like that. He just detests bad rhetoric. And we can tell from the way he chooses an especially English-y word to describe being naked.

Quote #5

a mock-religious grin
Of scorn (17-18)

"Mock-religious grin / Of scorn"? That's a pretty nasty slam. But check out how Graves is actually using one cultural staple against another. Religion is okay. But mock religion seems pretty awful. And anything mock religious would be awful, too—like, say, the sort of art that glorifies a fake version of the human.

Quote #6

The naked, therefore, who compete
Against the nude may know defeat; (19-20)

Notice how almost all the quotes about art and culture are from the middle two stanzas? That's because Graves uses stanzas 2 and 3 to lay out all the weird stuff that society does (and, okay, the cool stuff too) when it encounters folks without clothes on. And in this quote, he sums it up: naked is out. Nude is in.

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