Book Review Experience Without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity. Elizabeth Goodstein. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005. Pp. 461. $50.00, cloth. Winner of the Modern Language Association's 2005 award for Best First Book, Elizabeth Goodstein's Experience Without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity is a work impressive for its erudition and rigorous analysis. Experience Without Qualities is a genealogical study of the modern "modern discourse on boredom," a phrase referring both to a family of experiences and to the uses of language associated with them. (Although somewhat murkily introduced, a further distinction operates in Goodstein's account of the modern discourse on boredom, a distinction between language of boredom, language that is part of the expression of boredom, and language on boredom, language that is part of the reflection on boredom. It's the difference between saying, "I'm bored, there's nothing to do," and saying, "Powerlessness is the cause of boredom.") Goodstein believes the modern discourse on boredom exemplifies the modern rhetoric of reflection, the way of understanding and interpreting human experience that is historically and culturally specific to modernity. Through her genealogy of the modern discourse on boredom she hopes "to further the historical task of coming to terms with the fragmentation of
Philosophy and Rhetoric – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 26, 2007
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