The Experience of Loneliness in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Date / time: 29 June - 30 June, All day

The Experience of Loneliness in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts worldwide have been concerned about a loneliness epidemic. This has wider ramifications within the academy too. How might we better support unaffiliated scholars who may feel that they are writing in isolation without the support of a community of colleagues? How might one feel ‘lonely’ even within an institution? And how could our understanding of ‘loneliness’ in early modern prose and poetry deepen our perception of social isolation for scholars and writers today?

Building upon important work on the spatial, material and religious dimensions of solitude in late medieval and early modern Europe (Enenkel and Göttler, eds, Solitudo (Brill, 2018)) and ongoing research at Queen Mary, University of London (‘Pathologies of Solitude, 18th–21st Century’), this two-day online symposium, taking place on 29–30 June 2021, aims to explore expressions of loneliness and isolation in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writings.

Please visit for the full schedule.

Our speakers will investigate how people understood and coped with loneliness within their immediate circles and as exiles from the Henrician era to the Restoration. There will also be a final roundtable on precarity, loneliness and becoming an ‘independent scholar’ in humanities research today.

Our conference is free to attend, and registration is now open. Please get in touch if you need any particular arrangements to be made, or support provided, if you are interested in attending.