In Splendid Isolation

Four weeks into lockdown and you’re finding it difficult to see an upside. Living cheek-to-jowl 24/7 with your partners and family, indulging in orgies of baking, boxsets and boredom, you conclude, is hardly conducive to keeping your spirits up.

But all is not lost. There is a tried-and-tested way to make this work.

History proves that those who have flourished in quarantine – voluntary or otherwise – those who have succeeded in transforming their house-cells into a truly splendid isolation – all had one thing in common.

They were all – by and large – barking mad.

Consider one Xavier de Maistre, a 27-year-old French officer put on six-week house arrest in 1790 for dueling. Admittedly, the room in which he served his sentence was spacious and came with a butler, but what made de Maistre flourish in this situation was that he took a perverse delight in his enforced isolation.

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