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Spring 2024


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New in The Observer
A Review of Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History

In a recent review in The Observer Magazine, Donna Ferguson discusses Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History by Timothy Hampton. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full article. An excerpt appears below:

“Cheerfulness differs from happiness, Hampton says, because you have some control over it. ‘You can make yourself cheerful – I can tell you to cheer up and you know what that means. But you can’t make yourself happy. You can’t even buy it. Happiness is something you don’t have any control over.’

Cheerfulness is not optimism, he says, and it’s not positivity or hopefulness, either. ‘It’s ephemeral. It comes and goes. It’s a resource of the self, an uptick in one’s emotional wellbeing that raises your energy levels briefly. It’s not something that is easy to pin down – we don’t really recognize it, unless we’re doing it.’”