Looked at with the bourgeois eye, my life had been a continuous descent from one shattering to the next that left me more remote at every step from all that was normal, permissible and healthful.  The passing years had stripped me of my calling, my family, my home.  I stood outside all social circles, alone, beloved by none, mistrusted by many, in unceasing and bitter conflict with public opinion and morality; and though I lived in a bourgeois setting, I was all the same an utter stranger to this world in all I thought and felt.  Religion, country, family, state, all lost their value and meant nothing to me any more.  The pomposity of the sciences, societies, and arts disgusted me.  My views and tastes and all that I thought, once the shining adornments of a gifted and sought-after person, had run to seed in neglect and were looked at askance.  Granting that I had in the course of all my painful transmutations made some invisible and unaccountable gain, I had to pay dearly for it; and at every turn my life was harsher, more difficult, lonely and perilous.  In truth, I had little cause to wish to continue in that way which led on into ever thinner air, like the smoke in Nietzsche’s harvest song.

A passage from “Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse