Grove Press is a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. Grove Press was founded on Grove Street in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1947. But its true beginning came in 1951 when twenty-eight-year-old Barney Rossett, Jr. bought the company and turned it into one of the most influential publishers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. From the outset, Rossett took chances: Grove published many of the Beats including William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. In addition, Grove Press became the preeminent publisher of twentieth-century drama in America, publishing the work of Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize for Literature 1969), Bertold Brecht, Eugene Ionesco, David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1984), Harold Pinter (Nobel Prize for Literature 2005), Tom Stoppard, and many more. The press also introduced to American audiences the work of international authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mikhail Bulgakov, Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz (Nobel Prize for Literature 1990), Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel Prize for Literature 1994), Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel Prize for Literature 2004), Alain Robbe-Grillet, and Juan Rulfo. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barney Rossett challenged the obscenity laws by publishing D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and then Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. His landmark court victories changed the American cultural landscape. Grove Press went on to publish literary erotic classics like The Story of O and ground-breaking gay fiction like John Rechy’s City of Night, as well as the works of the Marquis de Sade. On the political front, Grove Press published classics that include Franz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Che Guevara’s The Bolivian Diary, among many other titles. In 1986, Barney Rosset sold the company and the press became part of Grove Weidenfeld. In 1993 that company was merged with Atlantic Monthly Press to form Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Since 1993, Grove Press has been both a hardcover and paperback imprint of Grove Atlantic publishing fiction, drama, poetry, literature in translation, and general nonfiction. Authors and titles include Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, Robert Olen Butler’s A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (Pulitzer Prize for Literature 1993), Kiran Desai’s Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize 2006), Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish (Commonwealth Prize 2002), Ismail Kadare’s The Siege, Jerzy Kosinski’s Steps (National Book Award 1969), Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, Nick McDonell’s Twelve, Catherine Millet’s The Sexual Life of Catherine M., Pascal Mercier’s Night Train to Lisbon, Kay Ryan (Poet Laureate of the United States 2008/9) as well as Antonio Lobo Antunes, Will Self, Barry Hannah, Terry Southern, and many others.

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The White Van by Patrick Hoffman
The White Van

Gritty, exhilarating . . . The White Van, with its quick and scary turns, provides a hell of a ride; the action never stops—even after the final page.”
The Wall Street Journal

Outstanding . . . Hoffman writes with great authority”
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An Unnecessary Woman
Full Service by Scotty Bowers
 
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"From Herodotus and Aristotle through Locke and Rousseau down to Darwin, Marx and Freud. The musings on happiness of these and dozens of lesser thinkers are lucidly presented in fine, sturdy prose that is, on the whole, a delight to read." —Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review
Happiness
A History
By Darrin M. McMahon
Grove Press
978-0-8021-4289-4 • $16.95 • Paperback • Jan. 2007
History
Today, human beings tend to think of happiness as a natural right. But they haven’t always felt this way. For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant virtue. For the Romans, it implied prosperity and divine favor. For Christians, happiness was synonymous with God. Yet
it’s only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation. In this sweeping new book, historian Darrin M. McMahon argues that our
modern belief in happiness is the product of a dramatic revolution in human expectations carried out since the eighteenth century. 

McMahon investigates how that fundamental transformation in thinking took place by surveying two thousand years of politics, culture, and thought. In ancient Greek tragedy, happiness was considered a gift of the gods. By the time of the Romans, its cherished
symbol, the phallus, was synonymous with pleasure and success. Central to the development of Christianity, happiness held out the promise of an end to all suffering in the eternal bliss of the world to come. When that promise was extended from heaven to earth in the age of the Enlightenment, men and women faced the novel prospect that they could—in fact should—be happy in this life as a matter of course. Ultimately, the Enlightenment’s faith in happiness led to its consecration in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man. But the pursuit of happiness also lay behind the tragic utopian experiments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that vowed to eliminate misery and extend joy to all. Ranging from psychology to genetics to the invention of the “smiley face,” McMahon follows the great pursuit of happiness through to the present day, showing how our modern search continues to generate new forms of pleasure, but also,
paradoxically, new forms of pain.   

In the tradition of works by Peter Gay and Simon Schama, Happiness draws on a multitude of sources, including art and architecture, poetry and scripture, music and theology, and literature and myth, to offer a sweeping intellectual history of man’s most elusive yet coveted goal.

Darrin M. McMahon on happiness:

I was living in New York in the roaring 1990s and happiness—its promise, its possibility, its allure—seemed to be everywhere around me. “Don’t worry, be happy,” intoned the song. The cosmetics company Clinique even released a fragrance—“Happy”—whose scent captured the smell of the times. I was also teaching at Columbia University then, reading all those authors I’d long claimed to know but didn’t really: Plato, Aristotle, etc. In book after book, happiness just leaped off the page, and it smelled very different than it did in Manhattan. I started sniffing around some more, and well, I’ve been on the trail ever since.

How do you define happiness?

What I try to do is show how the meaning of happiness has changed over time, while always retaining a little of its past. For the ancient Greeks happiness meant virtue. For the Romans, it implied prosperity and the favor of the gods. For Christians, happiness was synonymous with God himself. For many today, happiness means pleasure and good feeling. But there are definitely some constants. Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest human calling, the most perfect human state. Strangely, too, the word in every Western language is a cognate with “luck,” as if to imply that to be perfectly happy we need a little help from the stars.


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