, ,

This is the temptation of the autobiographer: to put the past into the shape it should have taken; to make yourself cut the figure you should have cut. Likewise, the biographer, in relation to his subject, may behave as avenging angel, remorselessly straighening the record, or as a scourge, reducing the subject to insignificance or mediocrity. But it is less likely that the truth will lie so conveniently at one or other of those extremes than that it will be intricately ramified through the whole spectrum.

– Brian Matthews, Louisa, p. 103