The “word [solitude],” Maurice Blanchot wrote with some impatience, “has been much abused.”1 This study does not intend to contribute further to such abuse: its aim is to facilitate our under-standing of a deceptively contentious and ambiguous issue. It cannot tell the whole “story” of solitude, but it highlights one of the most critical points in the arc of its long history, the period after the Great War (WWI) to Samuel Beckett’s Trilogy, published in the early 1950s.


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  1. 1.
    Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature, tr. Ann Smock (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), 10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Recent works on Modernism are too many to cite, but several are of special interest: Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern Culture, tr. Jon R. Snyder (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1991);Google Scholar
  3. Astradur Eysteinsson, The Concept of Modernism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990)Google Scholar
  4. the Introduction to Ann Quéma’s The Agon of Modernism: Wyndham Lewis’s Allegories, Aesthetics, and Politics (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1999), 11–29.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    In a limited way, the ambiguity of solitude is raised by Aleksandra Gruzinska in “From Musset to Cioran: Sampling and Taming Solitude” Journal of the American Romanian Academy of Arts and Sciences no. 20 (1995), 64–75.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, tr. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 64.Google Scholar

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© Edward Engelberg 2001

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  • Edward Engelberg

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