The invention of loneliness

The idea of solitude has long been with us, yet the notion of being unhappily on your own, lonely, only dates from the 19th century. Fay Bound Alberti traces how our forebears sought to describe an emotional world increasingly bereft of meaningful connections

'The Poor Actress's Christmas Dinner', a painting by pre-Raphaelite artist Robert Braithwaite Martineau, says much about the way Victorians had begun to understand the problem of loneliness. (Photo by Bridgeman Art Library)

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