Stephen Spender Quote
I am very honoured by your wanting to write a life of me. But the fact is I regard my life as rather a failure in the only thing in which I wanted it to succeed. I have not written the books I ought to have written and I have written a lot of books I should not have written. My life as lived by me has been interesting to me but to write truthfully about it would probably cause much pain to people close to me — and I always feel that the feelings of the living are more important than the monuments of the dead.
Response to a would be biographer in 1980, as quoted in "When Stephen met Sylvia" in The Guardian (24 April 2004)