Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness: Ethical Inquiries in the Age of Enlightenment (BOK)

Brian Michael Norton

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Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness explores the novel's participation in eighteenth-century "inquiries after happiness," an ancient ethical project that acquired new urgency with the rise of subjective models of well-being in early modern and Enlightenment Europe. Combining archival research 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 innovative study asks us to see the novel itself as a key instrument of Enlightenment ethics. His central argument is that the novel form provided a uniquely valuable tool for thinking about the nature and challenges of modern happiness: whereas treatises sought to theorize the conditions that made happiness possible in general, eighteenth-century fiction excelled at interrogating the problem on the level of the particular, in the details of a single individual's psychology and unique circumstances. Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness demonstrates further that through their fine-tuned attention to subjectivity and social context these writers called into question some cherished and time-honored assumptions about the good life: happiness is in one's power; virtue is the exclusive path to happiness; only vice can make us miserable. This elegant and richly interdisciplinary book offers a new understanding of the cultural work the eighteenth-century novel performed as well as an original interpretation of the Enlightenment's ethical legacy.


Språk Engelsk Engelsk Innbinding Innbundet
Utgitt 2012 Forfatter Brian Michael Norton
Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN 9781611484304
Antall sider 168 Dimensjoner 15,8cm x 23,6cm x 1,8cm
Vekt 408 gram Leverandør Bertram Trading Ltd
Emner og form Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Social & political philosophy, Ethics & moral philosophy, Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800