Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

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“What does it mean to be lonely?” Thomas Dumm asks. His inquiry, documented in this book, takes us beyond social circumstances and into the deeper forces that shape our very existence as modern individuals. The modern individual, Dumm suggests, is fundamentally a lonely self. Through reflections on philosophy, political theory, literature, and tragic drama, he proceeds to illuminate a hidden dimension of the human condition. His book shows how loneliness shapes the contemporary division between public and private, our inability to live with each other honestly and in comity, the estranged forms that our intimate relationships assume, and the weakness of our common bonds.

A reading of the relationship between Cordelia and her father in Shakespeare’s King Lear points to the most basic dynamic of modern loneliness—how it is a response to the problem of the “missing mother.” Dumm goes on to explore the most important dimensions of lonely experience—Being, Having, Loving, and Grieving. As the book unfolds, he juxtaposes new interpretations of iconic cultural texts—Moby-Dick, Death of a Salesman, the film Paris, Texas, Emerson’s “Experience,” to name a few—with his own experiences of loneliness, as a son, as a father, and as a grieving husband and widower.

Written with deceptive simplicity, Loneliness as a Way of Life is something rare—an intellectual study that is passionately personal. It challenges us, not to overcome our loneliness, but to learn how to re-inhabit it in a better way. To fail to do so, this book reveals, will only intensify the power that it holds over us.

Review

Loneliness as a Way of Life is a book about coming to believe in this world, a world in which loneliness is inevitable and connections are still possible. It is also a risky book, because of the way Dumm weaves the personal into the literary and both into politics. The risk is well run: Dumm''s is an untimely piece, essential for the time in which we live.
--William E. Connolly

Avoiding cynicism and sentimentality alike, Thomas Dumm''s penetrating and painfully personal meditations on the modern condition of loneliness may show us more about ourselves than we can easily bear. Through subtle and provocative readings of Shakespeare, Melville, Arendt, and other thinkers, Dumm finds terms for acknowledging and inhabiting his own loneliness, and perhaps ours as well. His calm yet insistently disarming voice claims and challenges us, even when we resist it.
--Robert Gooding-Williams, author of Look, A Negro!: Philosophical Essays on Race, Culture, and Politics

Thomas Dumm is a wise guide and learned counselor for the great Socratic question: How to live? We are deeply enriched owing to his wisdom and compassion.
--Cornel West

[Dumm] uses the works of past writers and philosophers such as Shakespeare, Thoreau, and Foucault, along with personal reflections on his feelings after the death of his wife, to explain the multifaceted nature of loneliness. Dumm concludes that loneliness isn''t something that we overcome, but it is part of our psychological, political, and social lives. We all share these common areas of loneliness, and only through reflecting on them can we gain a better understanding of how to live with our loneliness.
--Scott Duimstra ( Library Journal 2008-09-01)

Loneliness as a Way of Life doesn''t try to be cut-and-dried. It is quizzical, often deeply skeptical, about our intentions as a species. It recognizes that society--and sociability--are messy affairs that bring mixed blessings. Especially in his last, rousing chapter on Emerson, freedom, and responsibility, Mr. Dumm offers a way out of the morass he has described. He makes no false claims that we can vanquish loneliness or fix our thinking in a fresh groove. Instead, he proposes the tempered idea that friendship and group accountability can--indeed, must--live together with our existential solitude.
--Christopher Lane ( New York Sun 2008-09-30)

The greatest writers may have shown how language itself is inadequate to the experience of loneliness. But we have written our experience of loneliness deeply into the language. That too, though, goes to underscore the point that Mr. Dumm''s honest book makes: While the "lonely self will always be with us," we can at least come together in search of imaginative ways of expressing that loneliness. We can "write and read to tell each other how we are to be lonely together."
--Andrew Stark ( Wall Street Journal 2008-11-29)

[A] meditative and intensely personal volume.
--Sarah Barmak ( Toronto Star 2008-12-13)

An intriguing volume...This modern world may be the "way of loneliness," but readers should not shy away from the state. In fact, Dumm asserts that loneliness is the impetus that gives us autonomy, the ability to make decisions on our own terms. Although the feeling may be painful, it is only through loneliness that we become true individuals able to make rational decisions and able to interact with others as rational beings. And, in an odd twist, it is this true sense of self-awareness that leads us to seek the community of others.
--Orli Low ( Los Angeles Times 2009-01-04)

For Dumm, loneliness is really about loss. He argues that we have to be willing to reflect on the tragic dimensions of human existence, including the inevitability of our own deaths, to face and ameliorate our loneliness...Only through earnest reflection and a willingness to examine how we live our lives can the ache of loneliness be transformed into its less painful companion: solitude.
--Katharine Mieszkowski ( Salon 2008-12-22)

This is a fascinating book. Dumm articulates the intuition that many of the ways in which we understand our communal existence within a polity, ranging from the distinction between the public and the private spheres to the weakness of our interpersonal attachments, stem from the loneliness that is manifested within the modern world. Believing that loneliness is resistant to the traditional philosophical approach of describing the phenomenon at hand, then analyzing and critiquing it, Dumm draws on several important artistic works (from King Lear, to Moby-Dick, to the film Paris, Texas) to explore this issue and to illuminate his intuitions concerning it. Just as this volume is not a traditional philosophical treatise, it is not a traditional volume of literary criticism, for Dumm is deeply and personally involved with the subject of loneliness, and he reaches into his own experiences of it to explore it more fully.
--J. S. Taylor ( Choice 2009-04-01)

About the Author

Thomas Dumm is William H. Hastie ''25 Professor of Political Ethics at Amherst College. His most recent book is A Politics of the Ordinary.

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Customer reviews

3.4 out of 53.4 out of 5
19 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Jordan Freymeyer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Lyrical
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2020
So moving. Such a beautiful expression of something most of us feel but can not articulate.
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Kenneth H. Watman
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Audience confusion
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2009
The problem Professor Dumm and his book suffers from is the need to speak to two different audiences that prove utimately incompatible, the academic and the intelligent, lay public. Professor Dumm is a scholar, a political scientist at Amherst. He wants to be published by... See more
The problem Professor Dumm and his book suffers from is the need to speak to two different audiences that prove utimately incompatible, the academic and the intelligent, lay public. Professor Dumm is a scholar, a political scientist at Amherst. He wants to be published by an academic, refereed press. So his book must meet whatever methodological and ideological standards that hold sway. Whatever those are right now, abstract, theory-driven writing is required. Hence he spends a lot of time discussig his theory of the Missing Mother, which I do not find at all convincing. Like all academic books, this one is heavily footnoted, and it alludes frequently other scholarly work, as well as to classical literature. It is not a very readable book.

All of this is well and good, but it certainly does not speak very adequately to Professor Dumm''s second audience: people who are motivted to read the book, becaue they may be seeking consolation from their loneliness, or they may just be seeking a better understanding of loneliness, whether they are lonely or not. In other words, intelligent, but non-academic people. In my case, though not seeking consolation, I am lonely, and the idea of lonliness as a way of life was intriguing to me. But I was frustrated by Professor Dumm''s book, because so little of it seems to speak directly and plainly to exactly its title, loneliness as a way of life. There are parts which I think are intended by Professor Drumm to do that. I have in mind those parts when he goes inward to his reflections about his own loneliness, it''s sources, and what he thinks about it. But there are too few of those. And Professor Dumm''s writing style is not intimate, though he certainly addresses intimate matters.

But, the book simply is not broad or rich enough to speak adequately to both audiences, the academic and laypeople interested in loneliness; it cannot bear that weight. I don''t think a book can be both academic and intimate. The academic crowds out the lay by a wide margin. I realize Professor Dumm may never have expected his book to speak to anyone but an academic audience. But, in that case, Harvard Press, or the blurbs on the dust cover, would have been better off talking about this book''s contribution to the academic literature, and not about it''s general wisdom on loneliness that is a part of so many peoples'' lives.

So read it for its academic content, which, as I say, I don''t rate highly. But, I am not an academic. I can''t recommend it as a way of understanding better or addressing one''s own loneliness.
48 people found this helpful
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Jacob Benary
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book is an intimate expierience and it was comforting ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2016
The book is an intimate expierience and it was comforting to read that I am not alone in being alone...
2 people found this helpful
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M. Wilson
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Way too slow for the casual reader
Reviewed in the United States on December 2, 2009
While there is no doubt that this book is well-researched, it is not what I expected at all. As a lonely survivor of incredible personal losses (husband, brother, father) I was looking for a personal account of how we come to live with our loneliness. This author has... See more
While there is no doubt that this book is well-researched, it is not what I expected at all. As a lonely survivor of incredible personal losses (husband, brother, father) I was looking for a personal account of how we come to live with our loneliness. This author has suffered similar tragedies, but he writes in the cold, professorial tones of someone lecturing students. It is a short book, but a very slow read. Grab a hi-liter. You are headed back to the lecture hall. Very impersonal. I wanted solace. You won''t find it here.
10 people found this helpful
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Bernice MacKinnon
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The only book I''ve ever tossed in the trash!
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2009
Loneliness as a Way of Life was, quite simply, unreadable. A wordly, self important rehashing of the writing of others, with no insights for the average reader. I only bought this book because I saw and ad in a respected publication but now I realize anyone can buy an ad.... See more
Loneliness as a Way of Life was, quite simply, unreadable. A wordly, self important rehashing of the writing of others, with no insights for the average reader. I only bought this book because I saw and ad in a respected publication but now I realize anyone can buy an ad. A complete waste of time, money and thought. Mr. Dumm owes me the purchase price, and many hours of my life back.
11 people found this helpful
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Jonathan Strike
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pedantic and Simply Unreadable
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2009
The other reviewers who have critiqued this book are spot on, so I will not elaborate on points already made. This book is quite simply unreadable, a pedantic display of academic writing that is completely inaccessible to a broader audience.
9 people found this helpful
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DeHaan Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars
Loneliness as epistemological device: Convincing?
Reviewed in the United States on September 4, 2010
In the book jacket, the publisher notes: "Written with deceptive simplicity, Loneliness as a Way of Life is [] an intellectual study that is passionately personal. It challenges us, not to overcome our loneliness, but to learn how to re-inhabit it in a [different] way."... See more
In the book jacket, the publisher notes: "Written with deceptive simplicity, Loneliness as a Way of Life is [] an intellectual study that is passionately personal. It challenges us, not to overcome our loneliness, but to learn how to re-inhabit it in a [different] way." This statement, along with the table of contents and editorial reviews convinced me that this book is an epistemological device - an individual''s case study on identity, on how/what it is to live. I write this review, with this in mind.

[…]

Before being informed of this book, and after reading the editorial reviews, my wonder about loneliness was/is about how disinterested we are of each other. How is it that we, in this country, bear children to be important, unique individuals though fail to tell them that half of society will shun you when you grow up? I''ve had many "friends" but why This Divide now? Why this separation of "class"? You have your ways of income, have your particular interests, and I have mine, lets continue having dinner and share our experiences/findings. We grew up informed of this divide, were disgusted at it when we were in middle and high school. And now are a part of it. James Baldwin has been quoted as saying, ''"It is astonishing that in a country so devoted to the individual, so many people should be afraid to speak." Dumm writes: "[T]here is a deficiency or lack of connection to others that has become the defining characteristic of a particular class, gender, race, and/or even generational cohort who are perceived to be the exemplars of the relevant ordinary person under examination. For most of these scholars, this ordinary person is defined by a timid introspection that turns away from common concern to the pursuit of a selfish life." (25) This is old news.

I enjoyed Dumm''s commentary on identity. His sharing of memories with his wife, son, daughter, parents and siblings. He draws a connection to Shakespeare''s King Lear in its story of disconnect between parent and child. Throughout the book, Dumm reveals Lear as not only a suffocating patriarchal figure but as a generic authoritarian synonymous to "political leaders who are unwilling or unable to be losers, grievers." (169) The child, Cordelia, is left alone in her own state of loneliness to journey upon. She is muddled in a "White Event" [think being given a blank canvas, a paintbrush, with white paint and told to ... paint your life]. Along with other factors, individuals may be stuck in this white event (i.e. state of grievance) due to selfish "(dis)possessions" of material objects, emotions, wants, etc. Interesting viewpoint.

This book contained some humor with Dumm''s utilization of etymology and other stuff (Hint: Moby trivia) to describe his arguments. I also liked how he used non-fiction: politics, real-life experiences, Emerson quotations and fiction: Groundhog Day, Moby Dick, Death of a Salesman as examples to support his arguments.

Though that said, I wouldn''t say that I found all arguments as strong [e.g. Pip and Ishmael (Moby Dick), Linda Lohman (DoS), Freud''s id/ego, grief as public phenomenon].
7 people found this helpful
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Michael
2.0 out of 5 stars
Good wrapper, rocky candy
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2012
The copy on the back cover made this book sound so interesting: "Dumm asserts that loneliness is the impetus that gives us autonomy, the ability to make decisions on our own terms. Although the feeling may be painful, it is only through loneliness that we become true... See more
The copy on the back cover made this book sound so interesting: "Dumm asserts that loneliness is the impetus that gives us autonomy, the ability to make decisions on our own terms. Although the feeling may be painful, it is only through loneliness that we become true individuals able to make rational decisions and able to interact with others as rational beings." If only the book itself could have lived up to such an intriguing teaser! Instead it rambled through analyses of King Lear, Death of a Salesman, and other things I didn''t really care about. There were some interesting thoughts and insights, but it didn''t seem to be integrated. I struggled to the finish line, and when I got there I still felt like the copy on the back cover was the most interesting thing about it.
2 people found this helpful
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Irery García Sánchez
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bueno
Reviewed in Mexico on November 5, 2019
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Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online

Loneliness lowest as a outlet sale Way of Life online