Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Jünger
1 more dynamic and expressive than the language of epic description; that is to say, the facial and gestural externalizations of happy and sad states such as the radiant smile, the glowing countenance or the furrowed brow. They require dif fering interpretive responses from production to production, depending on the particular script or stage directions. Whereas the selected novels of the older generation of writers, nota- bly Mann’s (Chapter One) and Hesse’s (Chapter Three), investigate the interfaces and continuities between both nineteenth-century epistemolo- gies and sociologies of happiness and modernist accretions to the happi- ness debate, the “unhappiness” tropes of Kafka’s two angst-filled novels examined in Chapter Two are linked almost exclusively to the intensifying existential(-ist) crisis of a fragmented spiritual identity peculiar to the new millennium. And for its part, Jünger’s Heliopolis, treated in Chapter Four, engages with dystopian facets of (un-)happiness that are more aligned to Interwar socio-cultural and ideological directions than to nineteenth- century intellectual practices. Interwoven with my textual readings are critical considerations of key intellectual inf luences discernible in each narrative. Quite apart from the inf luences that are specific to each author and are ref lected upon in the book’s four main chapters, I identify as a common denominator a marked fascination with, if not an unconditional embrace of Eastern hap- piness philosophies as a source of inspiration for alternative ways of living. Whereas the active pursuit of happiness, first enshrined in the preamble to the American Declaration of Independence of...
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