Some people give the impression that nothing can defeat them. Cheerfulness is the emotion that underlies hope and optimism.
- Benjamin Taylor, ed., Saul Bellow: Letters (Viking, 2010). "The letters show a man constantly wresting high spirits from low, and forbidding himself 'the newest wrinkle in anguish.'"
- Christopher Simon Sykes, David Hockney: The Biography, 1937-1975: A Rake’s Progress (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2012): “Hockney has the sort of innate cheerfulness that is regarded as a professional liability in the art world.”
- Rosamond Bernier, Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir (Straus & Giroux, 2012). “This is a relentlessly cheerful book, complete with love and marriage at the end.”
- Valentin Serov, Portrait of Anna Benois (1908)
- John Heinrich Ramberg, Papageno (c. 1770)
- Gerrit van Honthorst, Merry (1623)
Music: songs and other short pieces
When You're Smiling, performed
Film and Stage
- Mary Poppins, about a nanny who gives the children of a dour man a different perspective, the one they wanted in their unspoiled wisdom
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a cautionary children’s tale against cheerlessness
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Swing music in American Jazz, mainly in the 1930s and 1940s:
In his Rondo in D major for Piano and Orchestra, k. 382, Mozart takes us through a series of variations on a simple theme, evoking a vision of a happy child at play or perhaps an adult at blissful peace with her world.
Willem de Fesch (1687-1761)
Field, Piano Concerti:
- Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Op. 27, H27 (1799)
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in A-flat Major, H31 (ca. 1811)
- Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 32, H29
- Piano Concerto No.4 in E-flat Major, H28
- Piano Concerto No. 5 in C Major, “L’Incendie par l’orage,” H39
- Piano Concerto No. 6 in C Major, H49
- Piano Concerto No. 7 in C Major, H58
- de Fesch, Violin Concerti and Concerti Grossi, Opp. I-X (sampler)
- Weber, Introduction, Theme and Variations, Op.posth
- Gounod, Petite Symphonie for wind instruments
- Nina Stibbe, Reasons to be Cheerful: A Novel (Little, Brown & Company, 2019): “ . . . maybe I’m just a sucker for a novel that opens with a British dental surgeon named JP Wintergreen injecting himself with lignocaine and attempting to pull his own teeth. Lizzie Vogel is a wise and cheerful guide to the absurdities and injustices in the dental surgery where she works.”
Remember me when I am gone away, / Gone far away into the silent land; / When you can no more hold me by the hand, / Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day / You tell me of our future that you plann'd: / Only remember me; you understand / It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while / And afterwards remember, do not grieve: / For if the darkness and corruption leave / A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile / Than that you should remember and be sad.
[Christina Georgina Rossetti, “Remember”]
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Solitude”
- Pablo Neruda, “Ode to Sadness”
- William Wordsworth, “What Heavenly Smiles! O Lady Mine”
- James Joyce, “Alone”
From the dark side:
- John Keats, “Ode on Melancholy”