Synopses & Reviews
Written in the evenings of a single week to pay for his mother's funeral, Samuel Johnson's only novel offers a compelling glimpse of the distinguished English writer's moral views. Its rapid execution, it is said, was the result of a lifetime spent contemplating the book's chief topics. A philosophical romance that traces the pilgrimage of an African prince and his companions to Egypt, the parable ponders a number of subjects and#8212; among them flying machines, poetry, marriage, and madness.
Simply written, funny, and compulsively readable, this fine little book has been heralded as one of the finest examples of English prose and offers a compelling glimpse of Samuel Johnson s moral views. Dashed out over the course of a single week to pay for his mother s funeral, Johnson s only novel was the outcome of a lifetime s thoughts and experiences.
A philosophical romance tracing the pilgrimage of an African prince and his companions to Egypt, Rasselas ponders a number of subjects romantic love, flights of imagination, the great discoveries of science, and speculations about the meaning of happiness all of which, Johnson implies, encourage man with false hopes and unrealistic estimates of what life has to offer.
Directed specifically against eighteenth-century optimism and, more generally, against all simple formulas for achieving happiness, Rasselas has often been compared with Voltaire s Candide which was published only a few weeks before Johnson s work. Both novels have deservedly attained the status of classics."
The distinguished English writer's only novel provides a compelling glimpse of his moral views as he assails 18th-century optimism and man's unrealistic estimates of what life has to offer. Rasselas ponders such subjects as romantic love, flights of imagination, the great discoveries of science, and speculations about the meaning of happiness.