Reading & Discussion
What does it mean to be alone?
The introduction of ‘support bubbles’ during the Covid-19 pandemic recognised that important interpersonal connections often lie outside the traditional couple or family unit. And yet, in a society that still all too readily equates finding happiness with finding love, not living in a couple is easily associated with a sense of incompleteness.
But does living alone necessarily mean being lonely? How does our obsession with romantic relationships contribute to social isolation? Can we re-think notions of intimacy and commitment outside the romantic couple? And is it possible to be alone and happy?
Daniel Schreiber, one of Germany’s most celebrated literary essayists, explores these questions in his recent book Allein
published in German in 2021. Interweaving his personal experience with insights from philosophy, sociology, and psychology, Schreiber takes us on a journey of grief and joy, intimacy and distance, shame and self-determination.
Daniel Schreiber will read from the forthcoming translation of Alone
(Reaktion Books, 2023). He will be in discussion with Fred Cooper and Marie Kolkenbrock.
Book Tickets Through Eventbrite
© Christian Werner
Daniel Schreiber is a writer and translator based in Berlin. He is the author of the Susan Sontag biography Geist und Glamour (Intellect and Glamour, 2007), as well as the celebrated personal-philosophical essays Nüchtern (Sober, 2014), Zuhause (At Home, 2017), and Allein (Alone, 2021).
© Fred Cooper
Fred Cooper is a research fellow at the University of Exeter's Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. His primary interests are in loneliness, shame, and the history of medicine.
© Belinda Burton
Marie Kolkenbrock is a Branco Weiss research fellow in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at King’s College London. Her work explores ideals of interpersonal and emotional distance in twentieth and twenty-first century culture and thought.