Does Happiness Write White?

Episodes

First
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20110630 (BBC7)
20170111 (BBC7)
Everyone's talking about happiness: politicians want to measure it, and self-help books explaining how to become ever happier are two-a-penny. So why have literary folk been reluctant to depict this emotion, when many philosophers and politicians see it as the very point of human existence? The French poet Montherlant may have the answer- he claimed that 'Happiness writes white', that it is too boring to depict or even unrepresentable. Presenter Catherine Blyth explores the challenges facing award-winning writers, including Helen Simpson, novelist Ann Patchett, and poet Don Paterson when they try to put something as elusive and subjective as 'happiness' onto the page.
20110630 (BBC7)
20170111 (BBC7)
Why do writers find happiness such a difficult emotion to capture on the page?
20110630 (BBC7)
20170112 (BBC7)
Why do writers find happiness such a difficult emotion to capture on the page?
2011063020170111 (BBC7)
20170112 (BBC7)
20201214 (BBC7)
20201215 (BBC7)
Everyone's talking about happiness: politicians want to measure it, and self-help books explaining how to become ever happier are two-a-penny.

So why have literary folk been reluctant to depict this emotion, when many philosophers and politicians see it as the very point of human existence? The French poet Montherlant may have the answer- he claimed that 'Happiness writes white', that it is too boring to depict or even unrepresentable.

Presenter Catherine Blyth explores the challenges facing award-winning writers, including Helen Simpson, novelist Ann Patchett, and poet Don Paterson when they try to put something as elusive and subjective as 'happiness' onto the page.

Why do writers find happiness such a difficult emotion to capture on the page?

Everyone's talking about happiness: politicians want to measure it, and self-help books explaining how to become ever happier are two-a-penny. So why have literary folk been reluctant to depict this emotion, when many philosophers and politicians see it as the very point of human existence? The French poet Montherlant may have the answer- he claimed that 'Happiness writes white', that it is too boring to depict or even unrepresentable. Presenter Catherine Blyth explores the challenges facing award-winning writers, including Helen Simpson, novelist Ann Patchett, and poet Don Paterson when they try to put something as elusive and subjective as 'happiness' onto the page.

Everyone's talking about happiness: politicians want to measure it, and self-help books explaininDrama On 3

Presenter Catherine Blyth explores the challenges facing award-winning writers, including Helen Simpson, novelist Ann Patchett, and poet Don Paterson when they try to put something as elusive and subjective as 'happiness' onto the page.

Produced by Faith Lawrence.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 2011.