Books: responses to confinement and other resources

Xavier de Maistre: ‘A Voyage around my Room’
De Maistre was held prisoner in a hotel room, which became the landscape for an incredible imaginative trek

Fernando Pessoa ‘The Book of Disquiet’: his narrator quietly refuses all unnecessary engagement with the world and the excitability of others, while enjoying doing as little as possible except enjoying the lyrical views of the city from his window

A less positive withdrawl is imagined in Herman Melville’s ‘Bartelby the Scrivener’

George Perec ‘Life: A User’s Manual’ 
Set in an apartment building, mapping the intricate relationships between its tenants

Daniel Defoe ‘A Journal of the Plague Year’

Also of course, the grand-daddy of all stories of confinement, Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’: now rightly regarded as ‘problematic’ when viewed through a post-colonial lens, but still moving. There was a serialisation endlessly repeated on UK television when I was growing up, with a very ethereal musical score. I always got upset at the episode when his dog died

Samuel Pepys Diary (during the Great Plague of London)

Boccaccio’s ‘The Decameron’ (recommended by Mavi)

Albert Camus ‘La Peste’

‘An Evil Cradling’ by Brian Keenan, held hostage in Beirut for 5 years in 1980s

When confinement goes badly wrong: Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’

Fantastic Voyage’: A journey inside the human body

… and a link here to some recommendations for online stuff from the BBC Arts correspondent

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