Thomas Dumm


On his book Loneliness as a Way of Life

Cover Interview of December 15, 2008


My greatest hope for Loneliness as a Way of Life is that it helps someone who reads it to recognize his or her experience, not as being the same as mine, but as itself being something worth taking seriously.  Too much writing, even writing about the self, is simply filled with self-help nostrums.  Those books condescend to their readers.  I ask my readers to descend to meet me.  I take seriously both Emerson, who believed that a true self always descends from a higher place to be with others, and Socrates, who first used the idea of descending to the marketplace as a gesture through which democratic conversation might occur.  This book may be too ambitious, maybe too dense, it certainly is dark, but it sure doesn’t condescend to its readers.  It doesn’t explicitly offer hope, but it does, I hope, illustrate a certain kind of turn in thinking and experiencing, a kind of writing of the self, that my readers may in turn be able to see as worth thinking about and trying to do.

© 2008 Thomas Dumm