One of the many to whom, from straightened circumstances, a consequent inability to form the associations they would wish, and a disinclination to mix with the society they could obtain, London is as complete a solitude as the plains of Syria.
(Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British novelist. Nicholas Nickleby, ch. 20, p. 246 (1839).)
I have at last, after several months' experience, made up my mind that [New York] is a splendid deserta domed and steepled solitude, where the stranger is lonely in the midst of a million of his race.
(Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Daily Alta California (June 5, 1867). Mark Twain's Travels with Mr. Brown, ch. 25, eds. Franklin Walker and G. Ezra Dane, Knopf (1940).)
When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts have been dwelling elsewhere, I bring them back to the walk, to the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, and to me.
(Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Experience," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 13, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).)
Egotism erects its center in itself; love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing republic, egotism is a despot in a devastated creation.
(Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), German poet. Philosophical Letters, no. IV.)
The bar ... is an exercise in solitude. Above all else, it must be quiet, dark, very comfortableand, contrary to modern mores, no music of any kind, no matter how faint. In sum, there should be no more than a dozen tables, and a clientele that doesn't like to talk.
(Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), Spanish filmmaker. My Last Sigh, ch. 6 (1983).
From his autobiography.)
... it is the desert's grimness, its stillness and isolation, that bring us back to love. Here we discover the paradox of the contemplative life, that the desert of solitude can be the school where we learn to love others.
(Kathleen Norris (b. 1947), U.S. poet and farmer. Dakota, ch. 20 (1993).
Norris lived in rural Lemmon, South Dakota, a town of 1,600 people.)