Pursuits of Happiness

Pursuits of Happiness : The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage

4.16 (156 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


During the '30s and '40s, Hollywood produced a genre of madcap comedies that emphasized reuniting the central couple after divorce or separation. Their female protagonists were strong, independent, and sophisticated. Here, Stanley Cavell names this new genre of American film-"the comedy of remarriage"-and examines seven classic movies for their cinematic techniques and for such varied themes as feminism, liberty, and interdependence.

Included are Adam's Rib, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night, The Lady Eve, and The Philadelphia Story.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 20.57mm | 417g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 067473906X
  • 9780674739062
  • 301,810

Back cover copy

Each of the seven chapters that follow contains an account of my experience of a film made in Hollywood between 1934 and 1949.
show more

Table of contents

Introduction: Words for a Conversation 1. Cons and Pros The Lady Eve 2. Knowledge as Transgression It Happened One Night 3. Leopards in Connecticut Bringing up Baby 4. The Importance of Importance The Philadelphia Story 5. Counterfeiting Happiness His Girl Friday 6. The Courting of Marriage Adam's Rib 7. The Same and Different The Awful Truth Appendix: Film in the University Acknowledgments Index
show more

Review quote

No book about the art of Hollywood I have ever read can make its readers stop and think more effectively than this one. -- S. S. Prawer Times Literary Supplement This is a voice like no other in philosophy, today or ever. -- Arthur C. Danto October The great achievement of...Pursuits of Happiness is that it finally provides a solid framework for the serious discussion of the great dialogue comedies of the thirties and forties, perhaps the most revived and loved movies of Hollywood's golden period. -- Al LaValley American Film This just must be, in its close readings and its stunning associations, one of the most compelling accounts of its kind. The fact is, it just is its kind. -- Geoffrey Hawthorn London Review of Books Stanley Cavell's book succeeds brilliantly...The individual 'readings' of the films and the general conceptual plan in which they are embedded are both so rich and rewarding that...'brilliant'...seems an understatement. -- Gerald Mast Journal of Aesthetic Education
show more

About Stanley Cavell

Stanley Cavell was Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Emeritus, at Harvard University.
show more

Rating details

156 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 45% (70)
4 36% (56)
3 13% (20)
2 4% (6)
1 3% (4)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X