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The Naked and the Nude

The Naked and the Nude

by Robert Graves

Art and Culture Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

As love from lies, or truth from art. (5-6)

Love. Lies. Truth. Art. Graves isn't pulling his punches. Nope, he wallops us with Huge Topic after Huge Topic. But why is truth, say, so contentious? Well, perhaps it's because we have cultural norms for what gets to count as truth—or, for that matter, what gets to count as art. And don't even get us started on love. There are like seven Sex and the City seasons devoted to the cultural quirks of lovers everywhere.

Quote #2

The Hippocratic eye will see
In nakedness, anatomy; (9-10)

Okay, so this isn't so much about culture as it is about anti-culture. That is, doctors learn to treat the body as anatomy. They're not born thinking about all the funny-sounding Latin names for bones. And along the way, they learn to un-think all the things that culture teaches us about nudity or nakedness.

Quote #3

While draping by a showman's trick (15)

Now we're getting somewhere. This is the first time that the speaker makes direct reference to art—which is sorta weird, considering that he's actually thinking a lot about a concept in its everyday and its artistic uses. But wait! Even this is, to quote our speaker, a "showman's trick." We think we're getting a description of the nude itself—after all, the language seems to suggest a 3-D form. But he's actually describing a word. Who "drapes" a word? That's some serious figurative language—about language.

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