Waiting for the Weekend

Waiting for the Weekend

by Witold Rybczynski
     
 

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We work, Aristotle wrote, "in order to have leisure. " This is still true. But is the leisure that Aristotle spoke of—the freedom to do nothing—the same leisure we look forward to each weekend? There have always been breaks from the routine of work—taboo days, public festivals, holy days—we couldn't survive without them. Here, Witold Rybczynski

Overview

We work, Aristotle wrote, "in order to have leisure. " This is still true. But is the leisure that Aristotle spoke of—the freedom to do nothing—the same leisure we look forward to each weekend? There have always been breaks from the routine of work—taboo days, public festivals, holy days—we couldn't survive without them. Here, Witold Rybczynski unfolds the history and evolution of leisure time in Western civilization, from Aristotle to the present. Along the way, he explores how the psychological needs that leisure time seeks to fulfill have changed as the nature of work has changed.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rybczynski ( Home ) traces the evolution of the seven-day week back to the Babylonian calendar and, more recently, to the Great Depression, when the two-day weekend became institutionalized in the U.S., with shorter work hours viewed as an antidote to unemployment. The common 19th-century European practice of ``keeping Saint Monday,'' or not working on Monday, paved the way for the modern weekend, which the author sees as a reflection of our mechanized culture: ``We want the freedom to be leisurely, but we want it regularly . . . like clockwork.'' In an enchanting, strikingly profound meditation on the relationship between leisure and labor, Rybczynski investigates holy days, precursors of modern holidays, and sketches a social history of reading, TV-watching and gardening. His beautifully written book is full of interesting tidbits: the Japanese language has no word for leisure; 22 million Americans work more than 49 hours a week. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In the form of a long, extended essay, the author discusses the emergence of the two-day weekend from the 19th century to the present. Successive chapters trace the historical origins of the week; days of rest throughout history; sacred and secular time; the boundary between leisure and work; the nature of leisure; the make-believe world of weekend retreats; controversy over the purpose of leisure; the present reorganization and standardization of work throughout the modern world, in which leisure now fulfills unmet work needs; and differences in national attitudes to leisure. The author draws on the works of Aristotle, Bertrand Russell, Jane Austen, Lewis Mumford, and others. This witty, readable, well-researched study with extensive notes and suggestions for further reading is certain to stimulate thinking. Recommended for general collections as well as history, sociology, business, and urban studies. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/91.-- Lesley Jorbin, Cleveland State Univ. Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140126631
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
07/01/1992
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
4.34(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.62(d)

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