Although boredom is something that we have all suffered from at some point in our lives, and has become one of the central preoccupations of our age, very few of us can explain precisely what it is.
In this book, Lars Svendsen examines the nature of boredom, how it originated, its history, how and why it afflicts us, and why we cannot seem to overcome it by any act of will.
A diverse and vague phenomenon, described as anything from tame longing without any particular object' (Schopenhauer), a bestial and indefinable affliction' (Dostoevsky), to time's invasion of your world system' (Joseph Brodsky), boredom allows many interpretations.
In exploring these, Lars Svendsen brings together observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology and popular culture, examining boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophies of the subject from Pascal to Nietzsche, and modern related concepts of alienation and transgression, taking in texts by Samuel Beckett, J.G.
Ballard, Andy Warhol and many others. A witty and entertaining account that considers a serious issue, it will appeal to anyone who has ever felt bored, and wanted to know why.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages, Illustrations
- Publisher: Reaktion Books
- Publication Date: 28/01/2005
- Category: Philosophy
- ISBN: 9781861892171
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Review by h_d
It was always going to be the case that a book about boredom would be anything but boring, but I didn't think it would be as riveting as it turned out to be. I absolutely loved the second chapter where the author discussed the books/movies <I>Crash</I> and <I>American Psycho</I>. Reading those books you do understand quickly that the characters act out of a lack of something in their lives, but I never viewed their actions as a type of violence born of boredom and in this way Svendsen's little volume is like a very cool piece that fits and completes a lot of puzzles. I really didn't want this book to end and immediately re-read my favourite parts. Awesome read.