Quarterly Essay 41: The Happy Life

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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.


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