“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.
“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