A Philosophy of Boredom
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Philosophy of Boredom

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  168 ratings  ·  10 reviews
It has been described as a "tame longing without any particular object" by Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your world system" by Joseph Brodsky, but still very few of us today can explain precisely what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of the central preoccupations of our age as it probes the n...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by Reaktion Books (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 539)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Really great actually. Here are five reasons for five stars:

1) Boredom is not a common topic in philosophy (most books about it are of the "get rid" style, not the "what the hell is it" style.)

2) He looks at boredom with a long historical view, following it's base of a sin in early christianity into pop music.

3) He slaps Heidegger silly in his phenomenology chapter.

4) He wrote a very readable book about an obscure topic that includes a phenomenological bent.

5)He made me understand exactly wh...more
Still reading the book but I already know my favourite passage :-) [needs to complete the review by adding Kierkegaard's position, for instance:]

"Pascal is the most prominent early theoretician of boredom. For Pascal, man is doomed to boredom without God. In the absence of a relationship to God we turn to pleasures in order to forget our miserable state but, in actual fact, this only has a more destructive effect.

Pascal says " The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and y...more
a good chapter on Heidegger's exposition on the topic.
An exploration of boredom in a series of sketches which gives me an articulation of this aspect of life. Boredom often coincides with lack of meaning which the modern subject believes achievable, while it turns out otherwise. Personal meaning as something that alone can give my life meaning is unrealizable.

Examination ranging from popular cultures like films and novels as well as works of prominent philosophers presents different aspect of the subject matter. For example, Heidegger imagined tha...more
This book led me to ponder on the essence of my own personal meaning, of finding my own mature self-identity. It was a fantastic read, with lots of major philosophic exemplifications. I enjoyed the journey through eras of cultural perception regarding boredom and its related moods. I very much recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a grasp of the relationship between modernity, rush, efficiency and the personal-self.
Eszter Faatima
I am indebted to this book, as it was the main inspiration for my thesis and a great source of reference. Thank you, Lars Svendsen!
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 Crash and American Psycho. 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...more
For a book about boredom it was surprisingly engaging. Having said that, it was indeed a book about boredom, and some of the historical sections in particular were a bit dry and longwinded. Svendsen presented his ideas well, however, and I found his thoughts on the matter to be very interesting, even though I'm not sure I agree with all of them.
Armand Cognetta
A bit esoteric, but overall a very interesting read. I particularly enjoyed the American Psycho section in which Patrick Bateman was depicted as the poster child for modern existential boredom taken to an extreme.
Finity of our existence makes us feel insignificant and meaningless. Such unbearable lightness of being feeds existential boredom, the very feeling Kundera's two characters, Tomáš and Sabina, have.
Mar 14, 2009 Yanshi added it
not bad
worth reading
Two-bit critchley
Emma Heisenberg
Emma Heisenberg marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2014
Lia Eikrag
Lia Eikrag marked it as to-read
Apr 14, 2014
James marked it as to-read
Apr 13, 2014
Malcolm Schwantler
Malcolm Schwantler marked it as to-read
Mar 31, 2014
Pip marked it as to-read
Mar 29, 2014
Anuska marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2014
Bakunin marked it as to-read
Mar 26, 2014
Ivana marked it as to-read
Mar 21, 2014
Denise marked it as to-read
Mar 15, 2014
Veronica Guranda
Veronica Guranda marked it as to-read
Mar 13, 2014
Mx.Nihil marked it as to-read
Mar 13, 2014
Kanwar virk
Kanwar virk marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2014
Diana marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2014
MelancholicSolitude marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2014
Bogdan Liviu
Bogdan Liviu marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • I, Phoolan Devi
  • Studies in Pessimism: The Essays
  • On Kindness
  • Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations
  • Heidegger: A Very Short Introduction
  • Proust and Signs: The Complete Text
  • A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster
  • Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology
  • The Hurlyburly's Husband
  • Time and Narrative, Volume 1
  • Conrad: The Factory-Made Boy
  • Critique of Everyday Life
  • How To Find Fulfilling Work
  • The Ethics of Authenticity
  • The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
  • The Perfect Crime
  • Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
  • Poe: A Life Cut Short
Lars Fredrik Händler Svendsen is a Norwegian author and philosopher who is professor at the University of Bergen. He has published several books translated into 24 languages. He is also engaged as project manager in the think tank Civita. In 2008 he was awarded the Meltzer Prize for outstanding research, and in 2010 he was awarded the prisoners Testament.


2005: A Philosophy of Boredom...more
More about Lars Fr. H. Svendsen...
Fashion - A Philosophy A Philosophy of Evil A Philosophy of Fear Work Hvad er filosofi?

Share This Book

“In order to live a meaningful life,
humans need answers, i.e., a certain understanding of basic existential questions. These ‘answers’ do not have to be made completely explicit, as a lack of words does not necessarily indicate a lack of understanding, but one has to able to place oneself in the world and build a relatively stable identity. The founding of such an identity is only possible if one can tell a relatively coherent story about who one has been and who one intends to be.”
“Self-identity is inextricably bound up with the identity of the surroundings.” 7 likes
More quotes…