Nothing New Under the Sun

Well this is something. A predecessor.

Remember when Homer finds that Japanese detergent box with his face on it? Well, I’m experiencing similar levels of uncanniness this morning.

No, I’m not talking about the guy from the YSL movie. I’m talking about THIS, which is from 1937:

Like all Englishmen […] I was trained from the cradle up to be an escapologist.

I would define an escapologist as a person who looks looks the facts of life in the back of the neck, or by sheer force of imagination conjures them out of existence, or runs away from them.

In all industrial countries functioning under the glorious profit motive system an increasing interest is being taken in the spot of escapology; but England is an old sport-loving country, escapology is a fine ripened tradition here, and we easily lead the world.

Isn’t that great? The book is called Away From It All: An Escapologist’s Notebook by Cedric Belfrage.

Belfrage was a film critic, a great advocate for Liberalism and the arts, a Communist, and most likely a spy. The more I learn about him, the more interesting a character he appears to be. This book was his first and seems to be essentially a travel book. Its worldview seems more “escapist” than what I call “Escapological” in that Befrage is seeking different forms of “dope” (his word) with which to temporarily escape reality. The first chapter is called “Portrait of a Man Seeking Hashish.”

His primary criticism of life, however, seems to be a disgust for social and economic inequality and the exacerbation of this sitution by Capitalism. We have at least this much in common.

I can’t to read further and to note the similarities and differences between his Escapology and ours.

My edition (pictured below) seems to have been abridged by the author for Penguin, but it’s still a sizable volume. I will report back when I have devoured it.

New newsletter coming atcha this week! Sign up here if you’re not already in.


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

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers


Issue 14

Our latest issue. Featuring interviews with Caitlin Doughty and the Iceman, with columns by McKinley Valentine, David Cain, Tom Hodgkinson, and Jacob Lund Fisker. 88 pages. £9.


Two-issue Subscription

Get the current and next issue of New Escapologist. 176 pages. £16.

Four-issue Subscription

Get the current and next three issues of New Escapologist. 352 pages. £36.

PDF Archive

Issues 1-13 in PDF format. Over a thousand digital pages to preserve our 2007-2017 archive. 1,160 pages. £25.