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The Literary History of a State of Mind

This book offers a witty explanation of why boredom both haunts and motivates the literary imagination. Moving from Samuel Johnson to Donald Barthelme, from Jane Austen to Anita Brookner, Spacks shows us at last how we arrived in a postmodern world where boredom is the all-encompassing name we give our discontent. Her book, anything but boring, gives us new insight into the cultural usefulness—and deep interest—of boredom as a state of mind.

304 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1995

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

1: Reading, Writing, and Boredom
2: Vacuity, Satiety, and the Active Life: Eighteenth-Century Men
3: The Consciousness of the Dull: Eighteenth-Century Women, Boredom, and
4: "Self is a Tiresome Subject": Personal Records of Eighteenth-Century
Interlude: The Problem of the Interesting
5: "A Dull Book is Easily Renounced": How the Interesting Turns Boring
6: The Normalization of Boredom: Nineteenth-Century Women and Their
7: Society and Its Discontents: Cultural Contexts of Nineteenth-Century
8: The Ethics of Boredom: Modernism and Questions of Value
9: Cultural Miasma: Postmodern Enlargements of Boredom

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