“The essence of solitude … is a sense of choice and control…. You choose to leave and return.”1 That is, if you can choose, and involuntary confinement (e.g., prisons) is not the only alternative of choice; nor, as is clear from the previous chapters, is it the only state of involuntary solitude. As some of the works demonstrate, our inhibitions of choice are many, and are often psychogenically involuntary. At times, “return” is nearly impossible, and we are irretrievably beyond it, although no external force holds us prisoner.


Religious Feeling Radical Alienation Universal Integration Dramatis Persona Prose Poem 
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  1. 1.
    Janna Malamud Smith, Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life (Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1997), 37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Samuel Beckett, The Lost Ones (New York: Grove Press, 1972).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Erwin Möde, Die Neue Einsamkeit der Postmoderne (Munchen: Edition Psychosymbolik, 1995), 80, 13, 113.Google Scholar
  4. On the transition from Modernism to Postmodernism see Gianni Vattimo, The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Postmodern Culture, tr. Jon R. Snyder (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1988);Google Scholar
  5. Philip Solomon, Modernism/Postmodernism, ed. Peter Brooker (London: Longman Group UK, 1992);Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    James Brusseau, Isolated Experiences: Gilles Deleuze and the Solitudes of Reversed Platonism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 176–177.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, ed. and tr. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 65.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 12.
    Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Solitude of Self” (1892) in The Search for Self-Sovereignty: The Oratory of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, ed. Beth M. Waggenspack (New York: Greenwood Press, 1989), 159–167.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    Amy M. Spindler, “Tracing the Look of Alienation,” New York Times (March 24, 1998), D28.Google Scholar

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© Edward Engelberg 2001

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  • Edward Engelberg

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