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A recluse is a person who lives in voluntary seclusion from the public and society. The word is from the Latin recludere, which means "shut up" or "sequester". Historically, the word referred to a hermit's total isolation from the world. Examples are Symeon of Trier, who lived within the great Roman gate Porta Nigra with permission from the Archbishop of Trier, or Theophan the Recluse, the 19th-century Russian Orthodox monk who was later glorified as a saint. Celebrated figures who spent, or have spent, significant portions of their lives as recluses include Virgil, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, Emily Brontë, J. D. Salinger, Emily Dickinson, Gustave Flaubert, Paul Cézanne, Nikola Tesla, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Marie Curie, Marcel Proust, Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Jean-Luc Godard, Thomas Pynchon, and Michael Jackson.
There are many potential reasons for becoming a recluse: a personal philosophy may reject consumer society; a mystical religious outlook may involve becoming a hermit or an anchorite; a survivalist may be practicing self-sufficiency; a criminal might hide away from people to avoid detection by police; or a misanthrope may be unable to tolerate human society.
It can also be due to psychological reasons, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, apathy, autism, depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder, intellectual disability, schizoid personality disorder or avoidant personality disorder. In Japan, an estimated 1.2 million people are part of the phenomenon of "Hikikomori" or "social withdrawal", a problem often blamed on Japan's education system and social pressure to succeed.
Entrepreneur Kim Smiley wrote, "We live in a society that stigmatizes seclusion, yet has an almost rabid fascination with it at the same time. A survey of history shows that some of the most brilliant thinkers, writers and artists turned their backs on society to embrace a life of voluntary seclusion." In Psychology Today, career coach Marty Nemko argued that the reclusive lifestyle is worthy of more consideration, stating that people who live alone are more likely to find satisfying work due to a lack of responsibility to support a family.
- List of recluses
- Recluse literature
- Schizoid personality disorder
- Social anxiety
- Social isolation
- The Æneid of Virgil. Scott, Foresman. 1916. p. 15.
- Shoham, Shlomo Giora (2008). Art, Myth and Deviance. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 211. ISBN 1443802972.
- "Isaac Newton: The Last Magician". BBC. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- Ball, Robert Stawell (2015). Great Astronomers: Isaac Newton. Booklassic. ISBN 9635266537.
- Gauss, Christian (June 21, 1907). "Review: Flaubert's Letters: Lettres A Sa Nièce Caroline By Gustave Flaubert". The North American Review. 185 (617): 438.
- Wullschlager, Jackie (September 27, 2013). "The Letters of Paul Cézanne, edited and translated by Alex Danchev". Financial Times. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
No artist perfected the persona of the brusque, reclusive genius better than Paul Cézanne.
- Barksdale, Nate (September 9, 2014). "9 Things You May Not Know About Nikola Tesla". A&£ Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- "Mme. Curie Is Dead; Martyr to Science". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- "Top 10 Most Reclusive Celebrities: Marcel Proust". TIME. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
- "Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Reclusive Pianist, Is Dead at 75," The New York Times, 13 June 1995
- Wilmington, Michael (July 30, 1995). "Godard Gems". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
- "Michael Jackson: child prodigy, genius and recluse". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. June 25, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Smiley, Kim (January 27, 2014). "How Famous Recluses Teach Us Important Lessons". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Nemko, Marty (October 24, 2014). "The Recluse Option". Psychology Today. Retrieved March 26, 2017.