This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity

This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity cover

This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts, and the Misunderstood Can Teach Us About Creativity

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"...Rich and sensitive." —The Wall Street Journal

“Loneliness is everywhere these days. But this book will chase some of it away, and maybe replace it with connection.” —Patton Oswalt, Emmy and Grammy winning comic

A examination of the life and work of six brilliant minds of the twentieth century, intent on answering the question “What can be done not despite but because of loneliness?”


At an unprecedented rate, loneliness is moving around the globe—from self-isolating technology and political division to community decay and social fragmentation—and yet it is not a feeling to which we readily admit. It is stigmatized, freighted with shame and fear, and easy to dismiss as mere emotional neediness. But what if instead of shying away from loneliness, we embraced it as something we can learn from and as something that will draw us closer to one another?

In This Exquisite Loneliness, Richard Deming turns an eye toward that unwelcome feeling, both in his own experiences and the lives of six groundbreaking figures, to find the context of loneliness and to see what some people have done to navigate this profound sense of discomfort. Within the back stories to Melanie Klein’s contributions to psychoanalysis, Zora Neale Hurston’s literary and ethnographic writing, the philosophical essays of Walter Benjamin, Walker Evans’s photography of urban alienation, Egon Schiele’s revolutionary artwork and Rod Serling’s uncanny narratives in The Twilight Zone, Deming explores how loneliness has served as fuel for an intense creative desire that has forged some of the most original and innovative art and writing of the twentieth century.

This singular meditation on loneliness reveals how we might transform the pain of emotional isolation and become more connected to others and more at home with our often unquiet selves.

Richard Deming is an award-winning poet and critic, whose work explores the intersections of literature, philosophy, and visual culture. He is the author of five books, including Day for Night and Art of the Ordinary. He teaches at Yale University, where he is the director of Creative Writing.

ISBN: 9780593492512

ISBN-10: 9780593492512

Publisher: Viking

Publication Date: 10/03/2023 - 12:00am

On Sale: 10/03/2023 - 12:00am

Pages: 336

Language: English

Categories

Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures

Self-help / Creativity

Art / Popular Culture