The Idler's Glossary

Joshua Glenn (Author) Mark Kingwell (Author)
& 1 more


"Dawdler." "Layabout." "Shit-heel." "Loser." For as long as mankind has had to work for a living, which is to say ever since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, people who work have disparaged those who prefer not to. Mark Kingwell's introductory essay offers a playful defence of the idler as homo superior, while Joshua Glenn's glossary playfully explores the etymology and history of hundreds of idler-specific terms and phrases, while offering both a corrective to popular misconceptions about idling and a foundation for a new mode of thinking about working and not working. The Idler's Glossary is destined to become The Devil's Dictionary for the idling classes, necessary reading for any and all who wish to introduce more truly "free" time into their daily lives.

Product Details

$12.95  $11.91
Publish Date
September 01, 2008
3.9 X 0.5 X 5.9 inches | 0.2 pounds

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About the Author

Joshua Glenn: Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based journalist and scholar. He has labored as a bicycle shop manager and skateboard courier, a busboy and barrel-washer, a researcher and teacher, a handyman and housepainter a bartender and espresso jerk, and also as a magazine and newspaper editor. The only work he has ever done was: publishing Hermenaut, an intellectual zine; contributing regular columns to, The Idler (UK),, The London Observer, and The Boston Globe's Ideas section; and editing Taking Things Seriously, a 2007 collection of essays and photos devoted to oddly significant objects.

Mark Kingwell: After some years of graduate education in Britain and the United States, Mark Kingwell found he had inadvertently perfected a form of idling for which he could get paid. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, and has written for publications ranging from Adbusters and the New York Times to the Journal of Philosophy and Auto Racing Digest. Among his twelve books of political and cultural theory are the national best-sellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), and Concrete Reveries. In order to secure financing for their continued indulgence he has also written about his various hobbies, including fishing, baseball, cocktails, and contemporary art.


"It fulminates most entertainingly against labour and industrial amusement, pays happy respect to its guiding spirits Lin Yutang and Henry Miller, gambols gaily in etymological thickets ("otiose" is drawn from the Latin for the noble concept of leisure), and poses crucial questions for further research ("whether snoozing is more akin to dozing or napping")."--The Guardian

"This delightful chapbook proffers a puckish twofer: a whimsically learned defense of indolence and flaneurship...and an engagingly etymological lexicon of loafing, past and present."--The Atlantic

"Mark Kingwell's splendidly informative, substantial introductory essay tells us much about the multifarious benefits that accrue to those who idle; it alone makes The Idler's Glossary worth reading."--Nigel Beale