Have people always felt lonely, or is this so-called epidemic a new one? Read personal essays and cultural analysis on modern isolation from a range of perspectives.
- Image gallery
Can hermits get lonely? Explore solitary lives through the ages, from early religious ascetics to children imprisoned in churches, and on to those compelled to withdraw from modern life in the 21st century.
Robinson Crusoe, fiction’s most famous castaway, was certainly isolated, but did he suffer the intrinsically modern affliction of loneliness?
When his relationship ended, Thom James first withdrew from the world, then began to suffer from illnesses with no apparent physical cause.
At Christmas, many charities provide dinners for homeless or isolated people. Food is central to festive celebrations, but it can also satisfy our hunger for belonging and community.