A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen

By Lars Svendsen

It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" through Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" via Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your international system" by means of Joseph Brodsky, yet nonetheless only a few people this day can clarify accurately what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of many imperative preoccupations of our age because it probes the character of boredom, the way it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we can't appear to triumph over it by way of any act of will.

Lars Svendsen brings jointly observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and pop culture, analyzing boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and sleek explorations into alienation and transgression through twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and interesting account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice somebody curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of state of being inactive.

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It had been a rocky year for Elizabeth and for me, but now I was hopeful that Elizabeth could find herself on the pages of a novel about a working-class girl’s life. It was the very novel I would have wanted as a girl her age, a girl Elizabeth. 42 / Childhood Ghosts without a teacher like me who would struggle with a choice so simple—the choice of a novel—and yet so important. At 9:20 that morning, Elizabeth and I sat together on the colorful patchwork quilt, talking about the novel. We sat cross-legged on my old family quilt, and Elizabeth read a passage from the book’s first section, Fall, about one season in a year of big changes for Ellie Farley.

She asked. “Because I’m tired of sharing a room with my sisters,” said Blair. ” I thought about the word that Blair used: dad. I had a hard time attaching it to the factual details of her biological father. He had been little more than a passing moment in her mother’s quest for alcohol, drugs, and, I suppose, love, to the extent that love could be distinguished from desperate need and desire. Every time Blair thought about the man she called Dad, she felt angry and confused. “And he never stops drinking,” she said.

Adriana’s mother would sometimes come home glassy-eyed from being high. We were becoming a sisterhood of girls with stolen childhoods. I wasn’t conscious of these events at first, but one thing I did know: Blair had found a type of fiction that was speaking more powerfully as a teaching tool than any I could bring to her. That night, in bed again with my copy of Rose Madder, I stayed up past midnight with my heart pounding, unable to stop reading the story. c h a p t e r t wo Elizabeth Discovers Her Paperback Even before our class began on a warm morning later that same week in June, our two floor fans were already working furiously.

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