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By Brian Michael Norton

Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness explores the novel’s participation in eighteenth-century “inquiries after happiness,” an historic moral venture that got new urgency with the increase of subjective versions of well being in early smooth and Enlightenment Europe. Combining archival learn on treatises on happiness with illuminating readings of Samuel Johnson, Laurence Sterne, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Godwin and Mary Hays, Brian Michael Norton’s cutting edge research asks us to determine the radical itself as a key device of Enlightenment ethics. His central argument is that the unconventional shape supplied a uniquely beneficial software for puzzling over the character and demanding situations of recent happiness: while treatises sought to theorize the stipulations that made happiness attainable normally, eighteenth-century fiction excelled at interrogating the matter at the point of the actual, within the info of a unmarried individual’s psychology and distinctive conditions. Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness demonstrates additional that via their fine-tuned recognition to subjectivity and social context those writers referred to as into query a few loved and everyday assumptions concerning the reliable lifestyles: happiness is in one’s energy; advantage is the unique route to happiness; in basic terms vice could make us miserable. This dependent and richly interdisciplinary booklet bargains a brand new figuring out of the cultural paintings the eighteenth-century novel played in addition to an unique interpretation of the Enlightenment’s moral legacy.

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