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Travel Adventure

The Adventurer's Glossary

by (author) Joshua Glenn & Mark Kingwell

illustrated by Seth

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Adventure, Language
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

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Adventure is always escapist and often utopian, yet we find solidarity with others and Kafkaesque existential rabbit holes within the words we use to celebrate high-flying escapades. Even when adventures are small in the cosmic scope, the terminology of thrilling exploits promotes a life lived at a high pitch. This go-to glossary for the philosophical explorer delves into these contradictions and insights through more than five hundred terms, from A-OK to zoom. Semiotician Joshua Glenn sourced terms from Shakespeare, military and biker jargon, hip hop and surfer slang, survivalist and gamer subcultures, comic books, extreme sports, and beyond to ask questions about meaning and selfhood. This diverting survey, paired with copious illustrations by the acclaimed cartoonist Seth, is introduced by Mark Kingwell in a thought-provoking essay.
The Adventurer’s Glossary extends the entertaining and incisive critique found in the trio’s previous books, The Idler’s Glossary and The Wage Slave’s Glossary. This third instalment turns its lens to the language of risk, excitement, and journeying into the unknown, taking readers on their own semantic adventure.

About the authors

Joshua Glenn is an independent scholar and journalist. He writes a blog and a weekly column for The Boston Globe`s Ideas section; and he is the editor of Taking Things Seriously (2007), a book about 75 ordinary objects with extraordinary significance. In the 1990s, he published the journal Hermenaut. He lives and writes in Boston. Mark Kingwell is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper`s Magazine. He is the author of ten books of political and cultural theory, including the national bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000)), Nearest Thing to Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams (2006) and, most recently, Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City (spring 2008). His articles on art, architecture and design have appeared in, among others, Harper`s, The Harvard Design Magazine, and The New York Times. A collection of his esays on art and philosophy, Opening Gambits, will appear in fall 2008.

Joshua Glenn's profile page


Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of eleven books of political and cultural theory, including most recently, Concrete Reveries: Consciousness and the City (2008) and Opening Gambits: Essays on Art and Philosophy (2008). He is the recipient of the Spitz Prize in political theory, National Magazine Awards for both essays and columns, and in 2000 was awarded an honorary DFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for contributions to theory and criticism.

Patrick Turmel is an assistant professor of philosophy at Université Laval. His main research interests are in moral and political philosophy. He has published articles in ethics and on issues pertaining to cities and justice. He is also co-editor of Penser les institutions (Presses de l’Université Laval).


Mark Kingwell's profile page

Seth is the cartoonist behind the comic-book series Palookaville, which started in the stone age as a pamphlet and is now a semi-annual hardcover. His comics have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Best American Comics, and McSweeney’s Quarterly. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications including the cover of the New Yorker, The Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries. He is the subject of a recent documentary from the National Film Board of Canada, Seth’s Dominion. Seth lives in Guelph, Ontario, with his wife Tania and their two cats in an old house he has named “Inkwell’s End.”

Seth's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"I read The Adventurer's Glossary with great interest and mounting enthusiasm; there is no book quite like it. I found surprises on nearly every page." Lucy Sante, author of Maybe the People Would Be the Times

"A case for 'adventure' as a literary as well as a quasi-athletic genre and attitude, with a philosopher's aerial approach, a set of literary recommendations, and a great deal of cultural history baked into a very skimmable A to Z." Stephanie Burt, author of Don't Read Poetry: A Book about How to Read Poems

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