A predecessor

I recently discovered the work of Evan Harris. She published two books: The Quit and The Art of Quitting: When Enough is Enough.

Her oeuvre basically preempts Escapology. She uses humour and philosophy and literary references to discuss the oft-shunned art of scarpering.

Here are Ms. Harris’ six categories of quitting:

Job quitting. Leaving any labor, paid or unpaid.

Person quitting. Giving up seeing, talking to, writing to, admiring, tolerating, wishing well, caring for, banking on, being amused by, being changed by, or loving any person or group of people.

Thing quitting. Forgoing inanimate objects, food products, and anything animal, vegetable, or mineral.

Locational quitting. Leaving a city, town, country, etc. Not the same as moving. (All locational quits are moves, but not all moves are locational quits. The locational quit does not necessarily have anything to do with the actual place the quitter goes, but it has everything to do with the place the quitter has left behind.)

Idea quitting. Eschewing ideas, psychological conditions, or emotional states.

Habit quitting. Eradicating the doing of something that you engage in as a matter of course on a regular basis. This generally involves quitting behavior that is bad for your health.

I greatly admire the clarity of this list: it probably took New Escapologist a little while to figure out these flavours of escape cumulatively and nebulously, through this blog and our six print issues.

New Escapologist focuses, perhaps disproportionately, on job quitting. I’d like to think and write more about the other areas of our manifesto.

Having said that, we also cover Thing Quitting (via minimalism), Locational Quitting (when we talk about things like location independence and internationalism), Habit Quitting (when we discuss overcoming soft addictions like television, driving, and coffee in order to maximise independence), and Idea Quitting (when we talk about critical thinking and escaping things like depression and psychological dependence).

The books don’t seem to be in print any more but you can buy second-hand copies at the usual online marketplaces. More immediately, here’s a 1996 essay extracted from the first book.

Buy the complete back catalogue of New Escapologist with a 10% discount today.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

4 Responses to “A predecessor”

  1. Sean Giere says:

    That manifesto link doesn’t seem to work. Great blog!

  2. Link fixed! Thanks for that.

  3. Cat says:

    By a weird coincedence I just read The Quit and I got it via Glasgow City Libraries – so worth trying your local library if you want to get a hold of it.

    I read it all in one go in just over an hour, and found it hilarious and inspiring. I am now in the process of trying a whole series of small quits instead of an overall big quit, as I found I couldn’t actually articulate my big quit i.e. escape so found it quite daunting. I hope that breaking my escape/quit down into to small chunks I can get there just the same

  4. It is a nice book, eh? I also like her cheeky author photograph on the back cover.

    The only thing I didn’t like what the frequency of the word ‘quit’. I know that’s what the book is about, but the same word used so often in quick succession made me feel like I’d been through the wringer a bit. Still good though.

    By the way, her other book ‘The Art of Quitting’ is exactly the same book as ‘The Quit’! It’s just got more graphic design on it. Every word, from what I can see, is the same. Just so you know!


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