William & Mary

The Story of Joy

The Story of JoyFrom the publisher:

"Joy is an experience of reunion or fulfilment, of desire at least temporarily laid to rest, of a good thing that comes to pass or seems sure to happen soon. In this wide-ranging and highly original book Adam Potkay explores the concept of joy, distinguishing it from related concepts such as happiness and ecstasy. He goes on to trace the literary and intellectual history of joy in the Western tradition, from Aristotle, the Bible, and Provencal troubadours through contemporary culture, centering on British and German works from the Reformation through Romanticism. Describing the complex interconnections between literary art, ethics, and religion, Potkay offers fresh readings of Spenser, Shakespeare, Fielding, Schiller, English Romantic poets, Wilde, and Yeats. The Story of Joy will be of special interest to scholars of the Renaissance to the late Romantic period, but will also appeal to readers interested in the changing perceptions of joy over time."

Adam Potkay is Professor of English at the College of William and Mary, Virginia. He is the author of The Fate of Eloquence in the Age of Hume (1994) and The Passion for Happiness: Samuel Johnson and David Hume (2000).