Happiness: A History
Today, human beings tend to think of happiness as a natural right. But they haven't always felt this way. For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant virtue. For the Romans, it implied prosperity and divine favor. For Christians, happiness was synonymous with God. Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest human calling, the most perfect human state. Yet it's only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation. In this sweeping new book, historian Darrin M. McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is the product of a dramatic revolution in human expectations carried out since the eighteenth century.
In the tradition of works by Peter Gay and Simon Schama, Happiness draws on a multitude of sources, including art and architecture, poetry and scripture, music and theology, and literature and myth, to offer a sweeping intellectual history of man's most elusive yet coveted goal.
What people are saying - Write a review
THE TRAGEDY OF HAPPINESS I
THE HIGHEST GOOD
FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH
A MODERN RITE
QUESTIONING THE EVIDENCE
Other editions - View all
age of Enlightenment America ancient animals Aquinas Aristotle Augustine Beethoven believed Bentham Cambridge chap Charles Fourier Christ Christian cited classical Croesus cultural Darwin death desire divine dream earth earthly eighteenth century Enlightenment Epicurean Epicurus Eriugena Essay Estragon eternal Ethics eudaimonia faith feeling Felicitas felicity final force fortune Freud goal God's gods greatest number Greek heaven Herodotus human happiness Ibid individual Jefferson La Mettrie Lequinio liberty live Locke Locke's Luther Marx means Mettrie Mill mind modern moral nature ness never Nietzsche observed one's Oxford pain passions perfect Perpetua Perpetua and Felicitas philosopher Pico piness Plato pleasure promise pursuit of happiness reason religion religious Renaissance Roman Rousseau Saint Schopenhauer sense social Socrates soul spirit suffering Summa contra Gentiles things thought tion Tocqueville tradition tragic trans true truth unhappy unhappy consciousness University Press virtue women word writings York