Happiness  book cover
1st Edition


ISBN 9781032015200
Published December 7, 2021 by Routledge
142 Pages

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Book Description

This book introduces the reader to the ways in which happiness has been explored in philosophy and literature for thousands of years, in order to understand the newest theoretical approaches to happiness.


Jeffrey R. Di Leo draws on its long and rich history as a window into our present obsession with happiness. Each of the four chapters of this book provides a substantially different literary-theoretical account of how and why literature matters with respect to considerations of happiness. From the neoliberal happiness industry and the psychoanalytic rejection of happiness to aesthetic hedonism and revolutionary happiness, literature viewed from the perspective of happiness becomes a story about what is and is not the goal of life.


The multidisciplinary approach of this book will appeal to a variety of readers from literary studies, critical theory, philosophy and psychology and anyone with an interest in happiness and theories of emotion.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. The Brave New World of Well-Being: Happiness as a Commodity from Huxley and Alain to Pharrell and Oprah  2. Happiness, No Thanks!: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy, and the Critique of Happiness from Freud to Žižek  3. The Happiness of the Text: Morality, Writing, and the Pursuit of Pleasure from Gide to Barthes  4. Real Happiness is Revolutionary: Badiou, Antiphilosophy, and the Metaphysics of Happiness from Spinoza and Pascal to Mallarmé and Beckett

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Jeffrey R. Di Leo is  Professor of English and Philosophy at the University of Houston-Victoria, USA. He is editor and publisher of the American Book Review, founder and editor of the journal symploke, and Executive Director of the Society for Critical Exchange and its Winter Theory Institute.