The Routledge History of Loneliness  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge History of Loneliness

ISBN 9780367355081
Published February 28, 2023 by Routledge
512 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge History of Loneliness takes a multidisciplinary approach to the history of a modern emotion, exploring its form and development across cultures from the seventeenth century to the present.

Bringing together thirty scholars from various disciplines, including history, anthropology, philosophy, literature and art history, the volume considers how loneliness was represented in art and literature, conceptualised by philosophers and writers and described by people in their personal narratives. It considers loneliness as a feeling so often defined in contrast to sociability and affective connections, particularly attending to loneliness in relation to the family, household and community. Acknowledging that loneliness is a relatively novel term in English, the book explores its precedents in ideas about solitude, melancholy and nostalgia, as well as how it might be considered in cross-cultural perspectives.

With wide appeal to students and researchers in a variety of subjects, including the history of emotions, social sciences and literature, this volume brings a critical historical perspective to an emotion with contemporary significance.

Table of Contents

History of Loneliness: Introduction
Katie Barclay, Elaine Chalus and Deborah Simonton

Part 1: Representing Loneliness

1. The Origins of ‘Loneliness’, the Oxford English Dictionary, and Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1590)
Amelia Worsley

2. Polite Loneliness: the Problem Sociability of Spinsters in the Long Eighteenth Century
Alison Duncan

3. Gender and Loneliness in Business: A Milliner and Her Agent in Eighteenth-Century Southern Europe
Anne Montenach

4. "My solitary & retired life": Queen Charlotte’s Solitude(s)
Mascha Hansen

5. "I feel as if part of [my]self was torn from me:" Entrepreneurship, Absence, and Loneliness in Nineteenth-Century England
Andrew Popp

6. David Hume and the Disease of the Learned: Melancholy, Loneliness, and Philosophy
Charlie Huenemann

7. Falling In and Out of Place: The Errant Status of Solitude in Early Modern Europe
Giovanni Tarantino

8. ‘Here in my loneliness I suffer’ – Illness, Isolation and Loneliness in the Diaries of Kirsti Teräsvuori
Karoliina Sjö

9. Time, Space and Loneliness in Bengali and Marathi Poetry
Ananya Chakravarti

10. In Solitary Pursuit: Loneliness and the Quest for Love in Modern Britain
Zoe Strimpel

11. Loneliness as Crisis in Britain after 1950: Temporality, Modernity and the Historical Gaze
Fred Cooper

Part 2: Households, Families and Communities

12. Loneliness and Food in Early Modern England
Lisa Wynne Smith

13. ‘Disengagement from all Creaturs’: Exploring Loneliness in Early Modern English Cloisters
Claire Walker

14. Ageing and Loneliness in England, c.1500-1800
Helen Berry and Elizabeth Foyster

15. Loneliness, Love and the Longing for Health: Mary Graham’s Consumption
Carolyn Day

16. Loneliness and Contested Communities in Mary Prince’s Slave Narrative: The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself (1831)
Jennifer Leetsch

17. Solitude in Early Nineteenth-Century German-Speaking Europe
Heidi Hakkarainen

18. ‘As an Only Child I Must Have Been Lonely Though I Was Not Aware of it at the Time’: Only Children’s Reflections on the Experience of Loneliness in Britain, c. 1850-1950
Alice Violett

19. Lonely in a Crowd: The Transformative Effect of School Culture in Schoolgirl and College Fiction
Nancy Rosoff and Stephanie Spencer

20. ‘A Purer Form of Loneliness’: Loneliness and the Search for Community amongst Gay and Bisexual Men in Scotland, 1940–1980
Jeffrey Meek

21. Loneliness as Social Critique: Disregard and the Limits of Care in Twenty-First Century Japan
Iza Kavedžija

Part 3: Distance, Place and Displacement

22. Loneliness and Sociability in Maritime and Colonial Space: A Comparative Intersectional Analysis of the Journals of Lt Ralph Clark and Dr Joseph Arnold
Rosalind Carr

23. The Loneliness of Leadership: Royal Naval Officers in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
Elaine Chalus

24. ‘Small uneasinesses & petty fears’: Life-cycle, Masculinity and Loneliness
Joanne Begiato

25. Lonely Places in Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century Scottish Balladry
Katie Barclay

26. Navigating ‘loneliness’ in the Reformed Lunatic Asylum: Britain, c.1800–1860
Mark Neuendorf

27. ‘There is a trace of you in the air of that room’ – Practices of Coping with Separation from a Friend in Late Nineteenth-Century Finland
Marjo Kaartinen and Miira Vuoksenranta

28. ‘One of My Own Kind': Jessie Currie’s Experience of Loneliness in British Central Africa, 1891–1894
Julia M. Wells

29. Loneliness, the Love Letter, and the Performance of Romance during Wartime Separation, 1939–1945
Emma Carson

30. Voices from Lost Homelands: Loss, Longing and Loneliness
Deborah Simonton

31. We are still alive’: Refugees and Loneliness
Joy Damousi

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Katie Barclay is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and Head of Historical and Classical Studies, University of Adelaide. She writes widely on the history of emotions, gender and family life.

Elaine Chalus is Professor of British History at the University of Liverpool. She writes widely on 18th-century women, gender and social and political culture.

Deborah Simonton is Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Southern Denmark, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, author of A History of European Women’s Work: Women in European Culture and Society and Sourcebook, and general editor of Routledge History Handbook on Gender and the Urban Experience and of Gender in the European Town.


"Loneliness is one of the most intriguing and relatively recent additions to the study of the history of emotion, with ramifications both past and present. This ambitious collection significantly advances the subject, by examining intellectual, social and geographical contexts with a number of imaginative chapters, from the early modern period until recent times. The result captures important current findings while encouraging further analysis, including comparative work—just what a compendium of this sort should do."

Peter N. Stearns, George Mason University, USA