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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World

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The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

;-) By Australia’s greatest contemporary author, an elegant, succinct meditation on what makes for a happy life.

 

“Happiness surely is among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous,” says David Malouf. But what exactly are we looking for when we chase happiness? At this particular moment in history, privileged, industrialized nations have lessened much of what makes us unhappy: widespread poverty, illness, famine. Yet we are still unfulfilled, turning increasingly to yoga, church, Match.com, drugs, clinical therapy and retail therapy. What is at the root of our collective stress, and how can we find our way to contentment?

 

Drawing on mythology, philosophy, art and literature, Malouf traces our conception of happiness throughout history, distilling centuries of thought into a lucid narrative. He discusses the creation myths of ancient Greece and the philosophical schools of Athens, analyzes Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary declaration that “the pursuit of happiness” is a right, explores the celebration of sensual delight in Rembrandt and Rubens and offers a perceptive take on a modern society growing larger and more impersonal.

 

With wisdom and insight, Malouf investigates that simplest, most spontaneous of feelings and urges us to do the same.

Review:

"In a world filled with devastating natural disasters and discouraging economic declines, who can be happy? As award-winning novelist and poet Malouf (Rabsin) reminds us in this yawn-inducing meditation, 'happiness is surely among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous.' Drawing deeply from the philosophical wells of Plato, Heidegger, Jeremy Bentham, and others, he reminds us that philosophers have long distinguished the pleasures associated with material goods from the longer lasting contentment that comes from spiritual well-being. Happiness, for the ancients, lay in self-containment and self-sufficiency. Some 18th- and 19th-century thinkers promoted the idea that happiness occurs when individuals achieve certain goals, such as higher production or more land being brought under cultivation. Malouf reminds us that we often confuse the happy life with the good life, which we measure in material terms of proper food and housing, justice, civil liberty, and civil safety. In the end, after all his searching, Malouf comes to the less than profound conclusion that happiness grows out of a balanced life, and that happiness is subjective — different for every person — and fleeting, much like the lessons of this simplistic book. Agent: Sophy Williams, Black Inc. Books (Australia). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

By Australia’s greatest contemporary author, an elegant, succinct meditation on what makes for a happy life. ;-)

“Happiness surely is among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous,” says David Malouf. But what exactly are we looking for when we chase happiness? At this particular moment in history, privileged, industrialized nations have lessened much of what makes us unhappy: widespread poverty, illness, famine. Yet we are still unfulfilled, turning increasingly to yoga, church, Match.com, drugs, clinical therapy and retail therapy. What is at the root of our collective stress, and how can we find our way to contentment?

 

Drawing on mythology, philosophy, art and literature, Malouf traces our conception of happiness throughout history, distilling centuries of thought into a lucid narrative. He discusses the creation myths of ancient Greece and the philosophical schools of Athens, analyzes Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary declaration that “the pursuit of happiness” is a right, explores the celebration of sensual delight in Rembrandt and Rubens and offers a perceptive take on a modern society growing larger and more impersonal.

 

With wisdom and insight, Malouf investigates that simplest, most spontaneous of feelings and urges us to do the same.

Synopsis:

By arguably Australia's greatest author, a succinct and intense meditation on what makes a happy life.

"Happiness surely is among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous," begins David Malouf. But, what is it exactly that we're looking for when we chase happiness? At this unique moment in history when privileged, industrialized nations have diminished much of what makes us unhappy—illness, famine—why are we still unable to find happiness, resorting instead to yoga, church, match.com, drugs, clinical therapy, and retail therapy?

Malouf doesn't have a quick fix on offer. Instead he takes us through an exploration of happiness consulting with, among many others, Kant, Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger, and Thomas Jefferson, who he argues may have first divided the notion of "happiness" from material satisfaction when he crafted his most famous demand: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

The Happy Life is at once a penetrating, entertaining, and eminently readable work.

About the Author

David Malouf is the author of eleven novels in addition to bountiful collections of stories, poetry, and opera libretti.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307907714
Author:
Malouf, David
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Subject:
Mind & Body
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Subject:
Philosophy | Ethics
Publication Date:
20130131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
112
Dimensions:
7.3 x 4.75 x 0.58 in 0.4 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

The Happy Life: The Search for Contentment in the Modern World New Hardcover
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Product details 112 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780307907714 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In a world filled with devastating natural disasters and discouraging economic declines, who can be happy? As award-winning novelist and poet Malouf (Rabsin) reminds us in this yawn-inducing meditation, 'happiness is surely among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous.' Drawing deeply from the philosophical wells of Plato, Heidegger, Jeremy Bentham, and others, he reminds us that philosophers have long distinguished the pleasures associated with material goods from the longer lasting contentment that comes from spiritual well-being. Happiness, for the ancients, lay in self-containment and self-sufficiency. Some 18th- and 19th-century thinkers promoted the idea that happiness occurs when individuals achieve certain goals, such as higher production or more land being brought under cultivation. Malouf reminds us that we often confuse the happy life with the good life, which we measure in material terms of proper food and housing, justice, civil liberty, and civil safety. In the end, after all his searching, Malouf comes to the less than profound conclusion that happiness grows out of a balanced life, and that happiness is subjective — different for every person — and fleeting, much like the lessons of this simplistic book. Agent: Sophy Williams, Black Inc. Books (Australia). (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , By Australia’s greatest contemporary author, an elegant, succinct meditation on what makes for a happy life. ;-)

“Happiness surely is among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous,” says David Malouf. But what exactly are we looking for when we chase happiness? At this particular moment in history, privileged, industrialized nations have lessened much of what makes us unhappy: widespread poverty, illness, famine. Yet we are still unfulfilled, turning increasingly to yoga, church, Match.com, drugs, clinical therapy and retail therapy. What is at the root of our collective stress, and how can we find our way to contentment?

 

Drawing on mythology, philosophy, art and literature, Malouf traces our conception of happiness throughout history, distilling centuries of thought into a lucid narrative. He discusses the creation myths of ancient Greece and the philosophical schools of Athens, analyzes Thomas Jefferson’s revolutionary declaration that “the pursuit of happiness” is a right, explores the celebration of sensual delight in Rembrandt and Rubens and offers a perceptive take on a modern society growing larger and more impersonal.

 

With wisdom and insight, Malouf investigates that simplest, most spontaneous of feelings and urges us to do the same.

"Synopsis" by , By arguably Australia's greatest author, a succinct and intense meditation on what makes a happy life.

"Happiness surely is among the simplest of human emotions and the most spontaneous," begins David Malouf. But, what is it exactly that we're looking for when we chase happiness? At this unique moment in history when privileged, industrialized nations have diminished much of what makes us unhappy—illness, famine—why are we still unable to find happiness, resorting instead to yoga, church, match.com, drugs, clinical therapy, and retail therapy?

Malouf doesn't have a quick fix on offer. Instead he takes us through an exploration of happiness consulting with, among many others, Kant, Plato, Aristotle, Heidegger, and Thomas Jefferson, who he argues may have first divided the notion of "happiness" from material satisfaction when he crafted his most famous demand: "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

The Happy Life is at once a penetrating, entertaining, and eminently readable work.

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