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Cultures of Solitude

Loneliness – Limitation – Liberation

Edited By Ina Bergmann and Stefan Hippler

This collection of essays comprises cultural analyses of practices of eremitism and reclusiveness in the USA, which are inseparably linked to the American ideals of individualism and freedom. Covering a time frame from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, the essays study cultural products such as novels, poems, plays, songs, paintings, television shows, films, and social media, which represent the costs and benefits of deliberate withdrawal and involuntary isolation from society. Thus, this book offers valuable contributions to contemporary cultural discourses on privacy, surveillance, new technology, pathology, anti-consumerism, simplification, and environmentalism. Solitaries can be read as trailblazers for an alternative future or as symptoms of a pathological society.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Bergmann, Ina editor. | Hippler, Stefan, 1960- editor.

Title: Cultures of solitude : loneliness, limitation, liberation /

Ina Bergmann, Stefan Hippler (eds.).

Description: Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 2017. |

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2017000780 | ISBN 9783631679074

Subjects: LCSH: American literature—History and criticism. |

Solitude in literature—United States. | Solitude in popular culture—United States.

Classification: LCC PS169.S58 C85 2017 | DDC 810.9/353—dc23 LC record available at

Printed with the kind assistance of

Siblings Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation for the Humanities.

Cover Image: Alois Bergmann-Franken, Der alte Loy [Old Man Loy],

ca. 1925, oil on canvas, 50 cm x 35 cm, private collection, photo: Birgit Wörz.

Printed by CPI books GmbH, Leck

ISBN 978-3-631-67907-4 (Print)

E-ISBN 978-3-653-07105-4 (E-PDF)

E-ISBN 978-3-631-70815-6 (EPUB)

E-ISBN 978-3-631-70816-3 (MOBI)

DOI 10.3726/978-3-653-07105-4


Open Access: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 unported license. To view a copy of this license, visit

© Ina Bergmann/Stefan Hippler, 2017

Peter Lang GmbH

Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften


Peter Lang – Berlin ∙ Bern ∙ Bruxelles ∙ New York ∙

Oxford ∙ Warszawa ∙ Wien

This publication has been peer reviewed.