“Clothes can be a dreadful thing for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”
Some folks, certainly many individuals, ask me why I write within the nude.
“Is it to prevent distractions?”
“Do you not have air conditioning?”
“Can you please cover yourself during this symposium, professor?”
To them, I reply:
Tolstoy. Joyce. Hemingway.
What was it that outlined these titans of the written phrase?
Their marvelous characters? Their unmistakable fashion? Their eager understanding of the human situation?
But additionally, it was their affinity for writing within the nude.
Take Struggle and Peace, thought of by many to be the best novel ever written. Tolstoy meticulously researched the Napoleonic period. He learn biographies, letters, and even interviewed veterans of the good battles — typically in his birthday swimsuit.
The nice Russian writer was assisted by his spouse, Sonya, who edited his work bare because the day she was born. A number of extra ‘au naturel’ collaborations by the Tolstoys adopted Struggle and Peace: Anna Karenina, The Dying of Ivan Ilyich, and the couple’s 13 youngsters.
However Tolstoy was not the one legendary writer who labored in a state of nature.
Ulysses, James Joyce’s 1920 Masterpiece, makes use of stream-of-consciousness writing, puns, and parodies to chronicle a day within the lifetime of Leopold Bloom. Joyce was livid when his working title, Naked-Assed Ulysses, was rejected as ‘too edgy’ for publication.
Nonetheless, Joyce’s fondness for writing ‘in the nuddy’ quickly caught on throughout the avant-garde group.
In Paris, Joyce’s approach impressed the well-known ‘Lost Generation’ of American writers akin to John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra Pound.
It was by means of Joyce that Hemingway got here to the nudist way of life. There have been absinthe-fueled strip poker marathons with the Fitzgeralds. Nude bullfights with Dos Passos in Spain. Inside a number of years, Hemingway had developed a rugged junk tan — and penned the primary draft of A Farewell To My Garments.
Though legendary editor Max Perkins insisted on dropping all references to nudist life within the remaining work (ignobly re-naming the novel A Farewell To Arms), an early draft has survived. It comprises the terse, declarative, buck-naked fashion that’s quintessential Hemingway:
“I know wearing clothes is not the same as being nude: that all things are different, that the things that are clothed cannot be explained in the nude, because they do not then exist, and clothes can be a dreadful thing for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”
Why do I write within the nude? That is why I write within the nude. The facility and the simplicity of the prose reveal a reality so overpowering as to carry me to tears.
Sure, I do know that sporting garments will not be the identical as being nude.
And that’s the reason I write within the uncooked.
Professor Hugh Johnson
Emeritus Chair, Comparative Nude English Literature
College of the Western Adirondacks