Sylvia Townsend Warner

The urge to escape is probably as universal, and as intellectually inexplicable, as the urge to procreate. Even the richest, the most beloved, the most successful, the most powerful must occasionally long to get away from their lives. It’s not really glamour or adventure one wants; it’s anonymity. Driving through the further reaches of Queens, for example, or the Bronx, it often strikes me temptingly that I could change my name, rent one of these identical little houses or rooms, and disappear forever. What do we want to run away from? Habit; routine; soul-deadening daily tasks; obligatory but meaningless social engagements; mind-rotting small talk; the tyranny of family; the...

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