Pursuits of Happiness

Pursuits of Happiness : The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage

4.14 (175 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 20.57mm | 417g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 18 halftones
  • 067473906X
  • 9780674739062
  • 377,978

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
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Review quote

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 * This is a voice like no other in philosophy, today or ever. -- Arthur C. Danto * October * 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 * 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 *
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About Stanley Cavell

Stanley Cavell (1926-2018) was Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Emeritus, at Harvard University. His numerous books include The Claim of Reason, Cities of Words, and Philosophy the Day after Tomorrow.
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Rating details

175 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 42% (73)
4 39% (68)
3 13% (23)
2 4% (7)
1 2% (4)
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