Sunday, October 28, 2007

(Missing) word of the week- loneliness

Until now we've had our words (and sometimes phrases) of the week. In which I've proposed an Italian word and expatiated upon it. But now we have something muuuccchh more interesting. Expatiating upon a non-existent word. Remember, the Eggplant has a degree in philosophy, so it can speak of non-existent things anytime it damn well pleases.

So. Lonely. Loneliness. There are no Italian words for these. How is that, you say? Are Italians not lonely? And if they are, how do they say so?

They have the words "solo" and "solitudine." I know, you're objecting that these correspond to "alone" and "solitude." But that's what they use for the concept of loneliness. One may speculate why that is. My personal Eggplant view is that these sociable, gregarious, Mediterranean folk conflate being alone and being lonely, hence have no need for a separate term. It was no Italian who said "I never found the companion as companionable as solitude," it was Henry David Thoreau out of Concord, Mass.

In the photo, a graffito from the poet Mario Stefani: "Loneliness is not being alone, it is loving others in vain."