The End of Solitude
Selected Essays on Culture and Society
by William Deresiewicz
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Pub Date 23 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 23 Sep 2022
Henry Holt & Company, Henry Holt and Co.
A passionate, probing collection gathering nearly thirty years of groundbreaking reflection on culture and society alongside four new essays, by one of our most respected essayists and critics.
What is the internet doing to us? What is college for? What are the myths and metaphors we live by? These are the questions that William Deresiewicz has been pursuing over the course of his award-winning career. The End of Solitude brings together more than forty of his finest essays, including four that are published here for the first time.
Ranging widely across the culture, they take up subjects as diverse as Mad Men and Harold Bloom, the significance of the hipster, and the purpose of art. Drawing on the past, they ask how we got where we are. Scrutinizing the present, they seek to understand how we can live more mindfully and freely, and they pose two fundamental questions: What does it mean to be an individual, and how can we sustain our individuality in an age of networks and groups?
“William Deresiewicz is his own man, he thinks for himself, and he has thought deeply about the way we live now. So much of what he says is right on the money, but even where one might disagree, he is always stimulating and provocative. He uses the essay for its classical purpose: to know himself better and in so doing to put forth wisdom.”
“William Deresiewicz is one of my favorite cultural critics working today and these essays remind me why. He doesn’t just interpret the culture; he builds onto it as he goes. Through sheer force of his own fine writing, he makes more culture. He also makes a kind of exultant and endless sense. His subjects here are wide-ranging—he examines everything from education to technology to friendship—but his depth of knowledge and precision of thought make this collection its own succinct and deeply satisfying entity. It will be a permanent fixture on my bookshelf.”
—Meghan Daum, author of The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars
“Restless, shrewd, probing, melancholic (in a good way!), William Deresiewicz’s essays seek out the largest of questions—the condition of self and soul in illiberal times—skewering pieties with a deliciously rapier wit, daring us to imagine more intellectually honest ways of encountering the world.”
—Laura Kipnis, author of Unwanted Advances
Praise for William Deresiewicz
“[Deresiewicz] is a striker, to put it in soccer terms. He’s a vivid writer, a literary critic whose headers tend to land in the back corner of the net.”
—Dwight Garner in the New York Times
“Deresiewicz has spent his career as a sort of Henry Adams figure, passionately invested in learning rather than in formal education, character rather than persona.”
—Hua Hsu in the New Yorker
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