Posted by The Fallen on January 10, 2002
In Reply to: Splendid Isolation posted by D. Hearn on January 10, 2002
: Looking for a definition and background of this phrase for an assignment... Thanks for any help you can provide.
It's obviously German philosophy hour right now (see previous posts re "you are what you eat"). This phrase is most famously attributed to Sigmund Freud, who coined it back in the early 1900's to describe both the frame of mind in which and the conditions under which he was writing at the time.
As to definition, that's a little trickier. Clearly it refers to a state of being alone, and one that the person who is alone and therefore unbothered does not mind at all. The phrase also suggests someone standing alone in the face of massed ranks (and in Freud's case, the massed ranks of traditional opinion). Nowadays, however, I feel that there are faint additional connotations of vainglory and arrogance colouring the implicit heroism, since the idiom, when applied to people rather than locations, is so frequently used ironically.
Any other opinions?