Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Biography of Loneliness: The History of an Emotion Hardcover – November 12, 2019
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"In addition to Alberti's sharp political analysis, one of the most powerful themes in her book is how varied loneliness is, how embedded it is in our lives, how extensively it evades generalisation. Maybe loneliness is a 21st-century epidemic, a modern illness requiring an urgent response, but it�s also so much more than that." -- Sophie McBain, New Statesman
"Alberti conveys the ambivalence of loneliness as we now conceive of it, its mingling of horror and desirability in a machine age." -- Jane O'Grady, Literary Review
"With wit and grace, Fay Bound Alberti traces the story of an often-painful emotion through its many guises and transformations. By showing that loneliness is not an existential universal but rather has causes and contexts, this book is itself a balm for anyone who has felt its stabs in the thick of crowded cities or amidst the chatter of social media." -- Professor Barbara H. Rosenwein, Loyola University Chicago
"Beginning with the intriguing argument that loneliness is a modern emotional phenomenon, Fay Bound Alberti traces many facets and factors leading up to the current loneliness dilemma. The book contributes both to several facets in the history of emotion over the past two centuries, and to a humane understanding of the issues and possibilities involved today." -- Dr Peter Stearns, George Mason University
"This fascinating book explores an increasingly central experience in our society-loneliness. Bound Alberti does a wonderful job of explaining where "do all lonely people come from", and "where do they all belong." The nuanced picture she draws has real potential to help us better understand, cope with, and reduce the most significant epidemic of our time. The author makes a particularly valuable distinction between fleeting and chronic loneliness. While fleeting loneliness can boost creativity and enhance emotional and spiritual clarity, chronic loneliness-which involves an existential sense of meaningless lack-is devastatingly destructive. I highly recommend this important book for all readers." -- Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, author of The Arc of Love
"Why is loneliness such a major concern in western societies? In this thoughtful, thought-provoking book Fay Bound Alberti traces modern loneliness from its nineteenth-century cultural and demographic origins to its latest incarnation as a health emergency, a scourge of western society. Exploring diverse experiences of loneliness - from William Wordsworth's famous 'lonely as a cloud' to Sylvia Plath's desperate description of it as a 'disease of the blood' - Bound Alberti provides a compelling account of the causes and consequences of loneliness in an age when community solidarities are at a premium." -- Barbara Taylor, Professor of Humanities at Queen Mary University of London; principal investigator on Wellcome Trust funded project, 'Pathologies of Solitude, 18th-21st Century'
About the Author
Dr Fay Bound Alberti is a Reader in History and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the University of York. She is a TED speaker and has published widely on medicine, the body, gender and emotion in books and scholarly articles as well as in the media. She has taught at universities around the UK including UCL, Lancaster, Manchester, and York.
- Item Weight : 15.3 ounces
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0198811343
- ISBN-10 : 0198811349
- Dimensions : 8.6 x 1.2 x 5.7 inches
- Publisher : Oxford University Press (November 12, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #817,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top review from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In any case "A Biography of Loneliness" is a literate exercise in social history, executed from a British point of view, sensitive to differences of gender, status, and race in the Western world. The author's basic premise is that loneliness refers to a cluster of emotions—among others, sorrow, fear, and anger—and is a product of modernity: the offspring of capitalism and secularism. In its modern, chronic expression, loneliness describes a radical alienation from others: a very different thing from solitude, which can be pleasurable. In my view this book's weakest chapters are F. B. A.'s excursions into literature, with rather bland readings of Sylvia Plath, Emily Brontë, and Stephenie Meyer (the "Twilight" series), although she makes the interesting point that Defoe's Crusoe is never described as lonely. Oddly, she omits discussion of Shakespeare's Ophelia, save in bibliographical citation of another scholar's essay (p. 248, n. 4). Hamlet is a solitary figure; Ophelia, lonely. (Polonius to Ophelia: "Read on this book; / That show of such an exercise may colour / Your loneliness" [3.1]). This book's strongest chapters, in my opinion, are F. B. A.'s considerations of being widowed (exemplified in the stories of Thomas Turner and Queen Victoria), the complicated intersections between loneliness and social media of the late twentieth century to the present day, and homelessness. Towards the end of the book (pp. 205–42) the line the author has so carefully drawn in distinguishing loneliness and solitude becomes blurred when she refers to loneliness as a condition that may be reconsidered as "a gift." This seems to me more a matter of creative solitude, particularly when applied, as does F. A. B., to Virginia Woolf, whose suicide (like Ophelia's) is given short shrift. The threshold between experiences of radical loneliness and self-destruction may be wide or narrow, depending on the person and circumstances, but they seem to me somehow related. And one wishes that the author had probed more deeply the correlative experiences of despair and hopelessness, which also distinguish loneliness from solitude.
On balance this is a well-researched, well-written, often poignant exploration of a subject that grows ever timelier, which left this reader nevertheless dissatisfied. The book is thicker in description, leaner in analysis.