The Art of the Wasted Day

Patricia HamplIn her 2006 New York Times review of Patricia Hampl’s Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime, American writer Kathryn Harrison wrote, “The enemy of the sublime, it turns out, is ‘the rush of modernity.’ There’s no time to sit and stare… Eternally dissatisfied, caught up in the relentless march of time, humankind is always becoming and never being…”

More than a decade later, we seem increasingly allergic to slowness, to reverie, to “just” being, choosing instead to embrace Voltaire’s maxim that Indolence is sweet, and its consequences bitter. Throughout works like her early examination of the contemplative life in Virgin Time, the meditative sensibility of A Romantic Education, and the ponderous inquiry of Blue Arabesque, Hampl has long explored the life of the mind. 

Join us May 4 when the award-winning author will give us a rare preview of her forthcoming book, The Art of the Wasted Day, in which she investigates not only leisure, daydreaming, and a slower pace, but also the essay form and its ever-musing master, Montaigne. 

Patricia Hampl, MFA, University of Iowa; BA, University of Minnesota, is a Regents Professor and McKnight Distinguished Professor at the University of Minnesota, as well as a member of the permanent faculty of the Prague Summer Program. Learn more...