The Happy Life
The search for contentment in the modern world
In The Happy Life David Malouf returns to one of the most fundamental questions and gives it a modern twist: what makes for a happy life?
With grace and profundity, Malouf discusses new and old ways to talk about contentment and the self. In considering the happy life – what it is, and what makes it possible – David Malouf returns to the “highest wisdom” of the classics, looks at how, thanks to Thomas Jefferson’s way with words, happiness became a “right”, and examines joy in the flesh as depicted by Rubens and Rembrandt. In a world become ever larger and impersonal, he finds happiness in an unlikely place.
This is an essay to savour and reflect upon by one of Australia’s greatest novelists.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 41, The Happy Life:
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The Happy Life brilliantly provokes thought and invites debate. David Malouf makes a fascinating and valuable contribution to that essential precondition of happiness: namely, the task of understanding what it is.
A poised and deeply humane essay, beautifully written and carefully argued.
An intricate argument, full of unexpected segues and apercus, a rewarding reflection on human restlessness and the need for limits.
Entertaining and insightful.
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