Essays on Boredom and Modernity


The past thirty years saw a growing academic interest in the phenomenon of boredom. If initially the analyses were mostly a-historical, now the historicity of boredom is widely recognised, though often it is taken as evidence of its permanence as a constant “quality” of the human condition, expression of a metaphysical malady inherent to the fact of being human. New trends in the literature focus on the peculiar relationship between boredom and modernity and attempt to embrace the new social, cultural and political factors which provoked the epochal change of modernity and relate them to a change in the parameters of human experience and the crisis of subjectivity. The very changes that characterise modernity are the same that led to the “democratisation” of boredom: modernity and boredom are shown to be inextricably connected and inseparable.
This volume aims at contributing to the growing body of literature on boredom with a number of essays which reflect on the connection of boredom and modernity and focus on particular texts, authors, or aspects of the phenomenon. The approach is multidisciplinary, in keeping with the pervasiveness of the phenomenon in our culture and societies, with essays reflecting on philosophy, literature, film, media and psychology.

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Barbara DALLE PEZZE and Carlo SALZANI: Introduction: The Delicate Monster: Modernity and Boredom
Isis I. LESLIE: From Idleness to Boredom: On the Historical Development of Modern Boredom
William MCDONALD: Kierkegaard’s Demonic Boredom
Matthew BOSS: Metaphysics and the Mood of Deep Boredom: Heidegger’s Phenomenology of Mood
James PHILLIPS: Beckett’s Boredom
Carlo SALZANI: The Atrophy of Experience: Walter Benjamin and Boredom
Rachel June TORBETT: The Quick and the Flat: Walter Benjamin, Werner Herzog
Marco VAN LEEUWEN: The Digital Void: e-NNUI and experience
Joseph BODEN: The Devil Inside: Boredom Proneness and Impulsive Behaviour
List of Contributors