Referring to the end of Latin civilization, I represented artistic culture as a type of secretion welling up within a people, at first indicating a plethora, an abundance of health, but later congealing, solidifying, forming a hard membrane preventing direct contact between spirit and nature, creating an appearance of vitality which disguises the decline of life within, like a casing in which the spirit languishes, wilts and finally dies. Pushing these thoughts to their natural conclusion, I made the assertion that Culture, which is born of life, ends up killing it.
Historians accused me of overgeneralization. Others criticized my methods. And those who complemented me were the ones who had understood me the least.
— André Gide, The Immoralist