The novel cure: Literary prescriptions for modern ailments
Ailment: Internet addiction
Cure: Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys
What have we become? A race that sits, gazing in silent rapture, at our devices and monitors, lost to a netherworld of dubious reality. Sometimes it can seem that this non-physical realm which we call 'the internet' is more compelling than the physical world around us. Our cure for this most deplorable of modern ailments is an unapologetically big and densely written tome called Wolf Solent.
Written in 1929 by the admirably eccentric John Cowper Powys and set in the West Country made famous by Thomas Hardy some 50 years before, it opens as its eponymous hero – an unprepossessing 35-year-old with "globlinish" features – flees the dull teaching job in London to which he's been chained for 10 years.
As the countryside becomes more and more lush outside his train window, and the smell of green shoots and muddy ditches reaches his nostrils, he starts to feel alive again. And once fully ensconced back in his childhood territory of Dorset, Wolf's full, sensuous self returns.
He promptly falls in love with two women at once, the bookish Christie and the "maddeningly desirable" Gerda who can whistle like a blackbird. And, senses bristling and thoughts of sex never far away, he experiences an "intoxicating enlargement of personality" that is as irresistible to us as it is to him.
Get off your chair. Fling open the nearest window. Plunge your head into the air and breathe deep of whatever elements of nature are out there – the smells, the sounds, the sights. Then unplug your modem, chuck your devices into the nearest skip and run – barefoot – to the hills.
'The Novel Cure, An A-Z of Literary Remedies' (Canongate, £17.99); thenovelcure.com
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Endeavour series 2, episode 4 - TV review: A gripping, sordid, startling and magnificent end to the series
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
- < Previous
- Next >