• Author: David Malouf http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/malouf-david
Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In the first Quarterly Essay for 2011, 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.' (From the publisher's website.)

Notes

  • Also includes correspondence responding to Issue 40: Trivial Pursuit : Leadership and the End of the Reform Era. Respondents include:

    • Peter Martin
    • Andrew Leigh
    • Tim Dixon
    • Mark O'Connor
    • Shaun Carney
    • Hugh Mackay
    • Barry Jones
    • George Megalogenis

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Provocatively Calm : On David Malouf as Essayist Patrick Allington , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 39 2017;
''This article examines the essays of David Malouf, many of which have been recently collected in three thematic volumes: A First Place (2014a), The Writing Life (2014b) and Being There (2015). My starting point is to argue that Malouf’s most important essays are politically charged. As a writer-activist he posits distinctive, sometimes controversial, positions, arguing strongly and passionately for alternative ways of thinking about Australia and the world, and indeed alternative ways for human beings to move through, and participate in, the world. However, Malouf is no firebrand: the tone of his essays is relentlessly calm; he brings together the emphatic and the empathetic, and he still tries to convince the reader. This article focuses on the political implications of Malouf’s calm but opinionated approach to his essays, as well as on how Malouf sets out to persuade readers. (Introduction)
The Happy Life : Nice Work If You Can Get It John Scheckter , 2014 single work
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 2 2014;
'Has any other writer so closely suggested that the aura of a work of art is a manifestation of joy? For David Malouf, happiness involves the complete immersion of a man or woman—he uses gender with all body parts intact—in moments of irreducible self-consciousness. In The Happy Life (2011), the Transcendentalist connections are clear, but Malouf’s is a thoroughly contemporary vision. As with Emerson and Thoreau, Malouf brings considerable Classical insight to modern problems of unhappiness, which he says generally spring from mistaking the material “good life” for the spiritual “happy life.” While acknowledging global problems of environment and politics, Malouf looks squarely at the possibilities for personal happiness in physical and intellectual self-awareness, moments that can be realized in the interstices and lapses of a world beyond individual control. The result is both a classical humanistic assertion of personal possibility and a modern registry of the odds against us.' (Publication abstract)
Earthquakes, Poets and God Michael Mullins , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Eureka Street , 25 March vol. 21 no. 5 2011; (p. 18-19)
Something Called Happiness Jane R. Goodall , 2011 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story 2008-;

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
We the Lost and Frowned Richard King , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 16 -17 April 2011; (p. 22-23)

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
Non-Fiction Fiona Capp , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 26 March 2011; (p. 28)

— Review of When Horse Became Saw : A Family's Journey Through Autism Anthony Macris 2011 single work autobiography ; The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay ; Australian Documentary : History, Practices and Genres Tricia FitzSimons Patrick Laughren Dugald Williamson 2011 multi chapter work criticism
The Endless Pursuit of Happiness Richard Begbie , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 3 April 2011; (p. 29)

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
Literary Pursuit of Happiness Draws from a Deep, Satisfying Well Gerard Windsor , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16-17 April 2011; (p. 30-31)

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
We the Lost and Frowned Richard King , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 16 -17 April 2011; (p. 22-23)

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
Something Called Happiness Jane R. Goodall , 2011 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Inside Story 2008-;

— Review of The Happy Life : The Search for Contentment in the Modern World David Malouf 2011 single work essay
Earthquakes, Poets and God Michael Mullins , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Eureka Street , 25 March vol. 21 no. 5 2011; (p. 18-19)
The Happy Life : Nice Work If You Can Get It John Scheckter , 2014 single work
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 2 2014;
'Has any other writer so closely suggested that the aura of a work of art is a manifestation of joy? For David Malouf, happiness involves the complete immersion of a man or woman—he uses gender with all body parts intact—in moments of irreducible self-consciousness. In The Happy Life (2011), the Transcendentalist connections are clear, but Malouf’s is a thoroughly contemporary vision. As with Emerson and Thoreau, Malouf brings considerable Classical insight to modern problems of unhappiness, which he says generally spring from mistaking the material “good life” for the spiritual “happy life.” While acknowledging global problems of environment and politics, Malouf looks squarely at the possibilities for personal happiness in physical and intellectual self-awareness, moments that can be realized in the interstices and lapses of a world beyond individual control. The result is both a classical humanistic assertion of personal possibility and a modern registry of the odds against us.' (Publication abstract)
Provocatively Calm : On David Malouf as Essayist Patrick Allington , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , no. 39 2017;
''This article examines the essays of David Malouf, many of which have been recently collected in three thematic volumes: A First Place (2014a), The Writing Life (2014b) and Being There (2015). My starting point is to argue that Malouf’s most important essays are politically charged. As a writer-activist he posits distinctive, sometimes controversial, positions, arguing strongly and passionately for alternative ways of thinking about Australia and the world, and indeed alternative ways for human beings to move through, and participate in, the world. However, Malouf is no firebrand: the tone of his essays is relentlessly calm; he brings together the emphatic and the empathetic, and he still tries to convince the reader. This article focuses on the political implications of Malouf’s calm but opinionated approach to his essays, as well as on how Malouf sets out to persuade readers. (Introduction)
Last amended 7 Apr 2011 12:10:22
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