Every gesture has its own agreed and inescapable meaning, every word its own precise profile, every phrase its own premeditated cadence. And the episode itself, in narration, is presented more as a pretext for the erudite effect of style and out of a classical taste for repetitions, almost hieratic in its repetition, than for the immediacy of the first vision. So much so that the great Romantic masterpiece is valued not for the humanity that characterises it, but as an example of ‘fine writing’. Solidified culture, triumph of the specialists: specialists of the head, of the eye, of the ear, critics, painters, musicians, and there is no room for that great dilettante the novelist […] absence of that friction, of that disagreement, from which rise uncertainty and doubt, fathers of observation, of introspection, and first step towards, sole prerequisite for ‘psychological’ interest.

Bobi Bazlen, ‘Prefazione a Svevo’, in Scritti, Roberto Calasso (ed.), Milan: Adelphi, 1984.