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Boredom: A Lively History


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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.


"As for his engaging new book, Toohey needn't worry: Boredom, with its wise insights, is never boring."-Carmela Ciuraru, Boston Globe -- Carmela Ciuraru * Boston Globe *
"Readers who are willing to meander from science to literature to art and other realms will find themselves engaged."-Nina C. Ayoub, The Chronicle Review -- Nina C. Ayoub * The Chronicle Review *
"There are plenty of fine things here to keep a receptive mind alert."-Alain de Botton, The Times -- Alain de Botton * The Times *
"Few writers on boredom can match Peter Toohey when it comes to finding pleasure, excitement and even a perverse kind of glee in his subject."-Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Daily Telegraph -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * The Daily Telegraph *
"Mr. Toohey presents his case with verve."-Elizabeth Lowry, Wall Street Journal -- Elizabeth Lowry * Wall Street Journal *
'Peter Toohey is a wonderful scholar, whose work on classical literature both instructs and delights.' - Darian Leader -- Darian Leader
'Forget ennui: Peter Toohey makes the case that the simpler, everyday kind of boredom we all experience is far more important than the pretentious world-weariness of French philosophers. Being bored can be excruciating, but it can also spur people to the heights of creativity. Toohey succeeds in making boredom interesting.' - Dylan Evans, author of Emotion: The Science of Sentiment -- Dylan Evans
'Who would have thought that boredom could be so stimulating?' - Michael Foley, author of The Age of Absurdity -- Michael Foley
"A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of the history a maligned emotion, which according to the author, may actually be designed to help us flourish."-The Bookseller * The Bookseller *
"[Toohey's] crisp conversational prose is untainted by jargon or pretence. His arguments display impressive erudition: history, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience and aesthetics all get a guernsey. If good writing requires authorial boredom, Toohey was undoubtedly tortured by tedium while writing this sharp, humane and funny book."-Damon Young, The Australian -- Damon Young * The Australian *
"...quirky and contentious."-Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday -- Stuart Kelly * Scotland on Sunday *
"Toohey has lots of exciting things to say about boredom."-Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday -- Craig Brown * The Mail on Sunday *
"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 *

"...... [Toohey] writes breezily and entertainingly about one of the world's most boring subjects: boredom itself."-Tim Heald, The Tablet -- Tim Heald * The Tablet *
"[Toohey] makes a persuasive case that there are even benefits to boredom, and at the very least this engaging read proffers a temporary antidote to the noonday demon."-Kelly McMasters, Newsday -- Newsday * Kelly McMasters *
"Highly entertaining."-Gordon Pitz, PsycCRITIQUES -- Gordon Pitz * PsycCRITIQUES *
"....a playful but scholarly study."-Sunday Herald * Sunday Herald *
"It's a brave author who chooses boredom as the subject for a book. How to describe this least glamorous of emotions, or delve into its essential qualities, without concocting a truly dull tract? Peter Toohey's method is to whip through the history, meaning and artistic representations of boredom at such a jaunty pace that there's no time to be bored at all."-Helen Zaltzman, The Observer -- Helen Zaltzman * The Observer *
"A lively, eminently readable book."-S. Halling, Choice -- S. Halling * Choice *
"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 *
"A fun and illuminating argument for the benefits of boredom."-Angus Clarke, The Times -- Angus Clarke * The Times *

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