This chapter considers what it might mean to experience solitude in nature. To do this, it takes the work of two writers: the 19th century American philosopher, essayist and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, and Anna (Nan) Shepherd, the 20th century author and poet. The chapter considers the life that both these writers spent, often (though not always) alone in nature. Thoreau walked around Walden Pond and woods in Concord, Massachusetts, and Shepherd in the Cairngorm Mountains in her native Scotland. The chapter questions the idea that solitude can be equated with solitariness, and argues instead that the works of Thoreau and Shepherd afford a different way of thinking about what solitary experiences in nature might offer through forms of encounter and revealing. It concludes that for both writers, a new understanding of solitude is marked by a kind of communion and presence that comes from attentiveness to one surroundings.
|Title of host publication||The Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness|
|Editors||Julian Stern, Christopher Sink, Malgorzata Walejko, Wong Ping Ho|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 27 Mar 2020|