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The Happy Life
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In this elegant treatise, 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. The Happy Life is writing to savour and reflect upon by one of Australia's greatest novelists. This edition includes responses to The Happy Life by leading commentators, including Robert Dessaix, Anne Manne, Elizabeth Farrelly and Tim Soutphommasane.
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About the Author

David Malouf is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life, Conversations at Curlow Creek, Dream Stuff ('These stories are pearls' Spectator), Every Move You Make ('Rare and luminous talent' Guardian), his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street and Ransom. His Collected Stories won the 2008 Australia-Asia Literary Award. In 2008 Malouf was the Scottish Arts' Council Muriel Spark International Fellow. He was born in 1934 and was brought up in Brisbane.

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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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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