Quiet, shush, something mysterious is happening, here before us is a fifty-year-old author, on his knees at the altar of art, creating, thinking about his masterpiece, about its harmony, precision, and beauty, about its spirit and how to overcome its difficulties, and there is the expert thoroughly studying the author’s material, whereupon the masterpiece goes out into the world and to the reader, and what was conceived in utter and absolute agony is now received piecemeal, between a telephone call and a hamburger.

—Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke, ch. 4, “Preface to ‘The Child Runs Deep in Filidor'”