Literature isn’t a profession at all. I’ll have you know—it is a curse. And when do we first discover that this curse has come upon us? At a terrible early age. An age when by rights one should still be living at peace and harmony with God and the world. You begin to feel that you are a marked man, mysteriously different from other people, from ordinary normal folk; a gulf of irony, of skepticism, of antagonism, of awareness, of sensibility, is fixed between you and your fellow men—it gets deeper and deeper, it isolates you from them, and in the end all communication with them becomes impossible.
Thomas Mann, Tonio Kröger.