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Boredom: A Lively History Paperback – April 17, 2012
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“Toohey has lots of exciting things to say about boredom.”—Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday (Craig Brown The Mail on Sunday 2011-04-03)
“In Boredom: A Lively History Peter Toohey, a professor of classics, makes a strong case for boredom as a universal emotion, experienced by humans throughout history and throughout all cultures, with many practical and emotional benefits.”—Ian Sansom, The Guardian (Ian Sansom The Guardian 2011-04-23)
“…… [Toohey] writes breezily and entertainingly about one of the world’s most boring subjects: boredom itself.”—Tim Heald, The Tablet (Tim Heald The Tablet 2011-07-02)
“….a playful but scholarly study.”—Sunday Herald (Sunday Herald 2012-02-05)
“Toohey’s book is a veritable boredom bible, plus it’s got some funny bits and lots of nice pictures.”—Chris Moss, Time Out (Chris Moss Time Out 2012-03-01)
“A fun and illuminating argument for the benefits of boredom.”—Angus Clarke, The Times (Angus Clarke The Times 2012-03-24)
About the Author
Peter Toohey is a professor in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary. His previous books include Melancholy, Love and Time: Boundaries of the Self in Ancient Literature. He lives in Calgary, Canada.
Top Customer Reviews
The sections on neurology tell us, among other things, that smell sensations travel from the nose to spinal pathways and thence to the insula.
In this book, Professor Toohey guides readers to understand salient features of this emotion that are easier to experience than to write about. Boredom is regarded as a universal and common emotion in our daily life, regardless of origins of culture and social background. According to Professor Toohey, there are two forms of boredom, including ‘simple’ boredom and ‘existential’ boredom (P.4). Simple boredom is the result of lengthy duration and when a situation is predictable and inescapable. It is also due primarily to its repeatability or when one is too satiated with a situation or in a state of entrapment. Existential boredom is, however, more than a concept than an emotion or feeling (P.142, P.189). It has diverse names such as nausea, disgust, ennui, mal de vivre, and despair. Existential boredom takes places when one feels that his/her existence has no relationship with the world around.
This six-chapter book collects and analyses abundant information about boredom. Chapter 1 is an introduction of salient features of boredom through artworks, literature, and latest scientific research findings. For instance, Orpen’s A Bloomsburg Family (1907) and Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (1900) capture the excruciating sense of boredom caused by entrapment. Bocklin’s Odysseus and Calypso (1883) depicts infinite or endless vista to the cause of boredom.Read more ›
Mr. Toohey's location at the University of Calgary, approximately 200 miles north of Glacier National Park (shared by the U.S. and Canada) might seem out in the boondocks and a bit boring, but that is not the case. Calgary, Alberta, is a very large metropolitan area some 50 miles east of the Canadian Rockies. The city, the university, and the professor, as the book reveals, are good to know.
Mr. Toohey has a pleasant tentative way of expressing himself. He presents the facts as he has gathered them, letting the reader form his or her own conclusions, while offering his own in a self-effacing way. And he can be subtly funny. I have never met Professor Toohey other than in his book, but I think I should like to sit in at the back of some of his classes. In a calm and straightforward way, he would most assuredly not be boring.
After opening the book with a 40 page chapter showing low-quality images (at least in the paperback version) of artwork depicting or implying boredom, Toohey spends the remainder of the book causing boredom. His idea of a history of boredom is to over-interpret artwork that may or may not depict boredom. He teaches us that a chin resting in the hand may depict boredom, and that a lack of people in an image implies it. When the author himself gets bored, he throws in another piece of artwork (27 in all) and spends a page or two talking about what boredom looks like.
It takes the author 181 pages of demonstrating to the reader that he's discovered the thesaurus feature of MS Word to come to the conclusion, "And so it seems that curing boredom seems to be related to managing empty time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Upon purchasing this book, I found it boring and put it up on Amazon to sell, which it did immediately.Published on February 11, 2014 by F. Dianne Harris
This book is fascinating. It incorporates, art, neuroscience, and humor (including almost a page of words used to describe the feeling of boredom) to guide the reader through the... Read morePublished on May 20, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Good research but I needed some patience to get through it all. Interesting questions raised which caused me to ponder my own life.Published on January 15, 2013 by F. Blythe