Stedman Mays
literary agent
Clausen, Mays & Tahan literary agency

Quentin entered a room as if he were an empress, and yet he was as humble as a servant. He spoke as if he were the Queen of England giving a royal speech to the masses at holiday time, and yet he laughed at himself in the next breath. He was a loner, but he was intensely drawn to other people and curious about the world around him.

He was full of contradictions. And much of his wit—his humor—sprang from contradictions.

"The whole purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the terrible things other people say about us." I always loved that line of Quentin’s. My favorite. Brutally funny, and true.

But I don’t have anything terrible to say about you, Quentin. I adored you. And I adored your words—words that have meant so much to so many, including me. Your life story, told so memorably in your books, gives people the courage to be themselves and laugh at themselves, trudging onward—stylishly, of course—through the hazards of existence. I can remember you saying that if you heard the atom bomb was about to drop, you’d quickly look in a mirror to make sure your makeup was properly applied for the occasion.

Quentin, I’m honored for the precious words that you entrusted to me and my partner Mary Tahan. Mary and I were proud—we are proud—to be your literary agents and protectors of your legacy of finely assembled words, a legacy that will outlive us all.

Copyright © 2000 by Stedman Mays and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Marjory Dressler. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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