Experience Without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity

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Stanford University Press, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 461 pages
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Although boredom appears to be a perennial feature of the human condition, it is linked to ways of experiencing time and thinking about human existence that are recognizably modern. By tracing the emergence and evolution of the modern discourse on boredom in French and German literary, philosophical, and sociological texts, Experience Without Qualities makes a contribution to the intellectual and cultural history of European modernity. In interpreting that discourse as the reflection of a specifically modern crisis of meaning, it contributes to the theorization of modernity and modern experience. And in bringing these historical and theoretical dimensions into conversation, it develops analytic strategies that are of broader application in interdisciplinary inquiry—for the methodological problems that arise in thinking about boredom as a phenomenon of both philosophical and more broadly cultural significance illuminate the constraints that confront any attempt to reflect historically on subjective experience in modernity.

  

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Contents

Ennui in Western Literature Boredom as Existential Malaise
33
Narrating Malaise
35
Ennui and Enlightenment
41
Ennui Literature and the Making of Western Man
46
The Philosophical Rhetoric of Experience
53
Boredom as Mimesis
55
The Normalization of Anomie Boredom as Sociological Symptom
65
Subjective Malaise as an Object of Social Science
68
Georg Simmels Phenomenology of Modern Skepticism
249
Boredom and the Problem of Meaning in Modernity
256
The Forms of Subjective Experience in Modernity
264
Martin Heideggers Existential Grammar of Boredom
281
Boredom and the Search for Philosophical Renewal
285
The Emergence of the Problem of Boredom
289
Mood and the Rhetoric of Reflection
298
The Rhetoric of Mood and the Renewal of Philosophy
305

History Structure and Subjective Malaise
79
Work Leisure and Modern Subjectivity
87
The Modern Rhetoric of Reflection on Subjective Malaise
94
Boredom and the Modernization of Subjectivity
101
Etymology and the Modernization of Reflection on Subjective Malaise
107
Boredom Romanticism and the Temporality of Progress
120
Romanticism Skepticism and the Medicalization of Malaise
129
The Materialist Rhetoric of Reflection on Subjective Experience
140
Boredom as Negative Revelation
156
Disenchantment in the Capital of the Nineteenth Century
160
Boredom Literary Culture and the Democratization of Leisure
168
Boredom and the Crisis of Romantic SelfReflection
184
Language Irony and Artistic Transcendence
201
Baudelaire and the Experience of Modernity
214
Ennui as Vice and Fate
223
Spleen and Modernite
235
The Phenomenology of Boredom
312
Being without Qualities Robert Musil and the SelfOvercoming of Skepticism
334
Life as Experiment
344
Musils Historical Irony
353
The Man without Qualities as a Man of His Times
364
Musils Ironic Metaphorics of Modernity
369
The Attempt to Make History Possible
376
Boredom the Other Condition and the Return of History
386
Boredom and the Rhetoric of Reflection on Modernity
397
Discourse Temporality History
402
Boredom and the Modern Rhetoric of Reflection on Subjective Experience
407
Boredom and the Democratization of Skepticism in Modernity
412
Bibliography
423
Index
449
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About the author (2005)

Elizabeth S. Goodstein is Associate Professor in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory Univers

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