The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics)

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9780199229970: The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics)

Rasselas and his companions escape the pleasures of the "happy valley" in order to make their "choice of life." By witnessing the misfortunes and miseries of others they come to understand the nature of happiness, and value it more highly. Their travels and enquiries raise important practical and philosophical questions concerning many aspects of the human condition, including the business of a poet, the stability of reason, the immortality of the soul, and how to find contentment. Johnson's adaptation of the popular oriental tale displays his usual wit and perceptiveness; skeptical and probing, his tale nevertheless suggests that wisdom and self-knowledge need not be entirely beyond reach. This sparkling new edition includes an authoritative introduction by Thomas Keymer relating the story to Johnson's life, thought, and writings; the rise of the novel genre; and the global context of the Seven Years War. Extensive annotations relate the novel to its literary, philosophical, and political contexts.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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From the Back Cover:

In Samuel Johnson’s classic philosophical tale, the prince and princess of Abissinia escape their confinement in the Happy Valley and conduct an ultimately unsuccessful search for a choice of life that leads to happiness. Johnson uses the conventions of the Oriental tale to depict a universal restlessness of desire. The excesses of Orientalism―its superfluous splendours, its despotic tyrannies, its riotous pleasures―cannot satisfy us. His tale challenges us by showing the problem of finding happiness to be insoluble while still dignifying our quest for fulfillment.

The appendices to this Broadview edition include reviews and biographies, selections from the sequel Dinarbas (1790), and the complete text of Elizabeth Pope Whately’s The Second Part of the History of Rasselas (1835). Selections from Johnson’s translation of the travel narrative A Voyage to Abyssinia, as well as his Oriental tales in the Rambler, are also included, along with another popular tale, Joseph Addison’s “The Vision of Mirzah,” and selections from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters.

About the Author:


Thomas Keymer is Chancellor Jackman Professor of English at the University of Toronto. He co-edited The Cambridge Companion to English Literature from 1740 to 1830.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. What then is to be done? said Rasselas; the more we inquire, the less we can resolve. Rasselas and his companions escape the pleasures of the happy valley in order to make their choice of life . By witnessing the misfortunes and miseries of others they may come to understand the nature of happiness, and value it more highly. Their travels and enquiries raise important practical and philosophical questions concerning many aspects of the human condition, including the business of a poet, the stability of reason, the immortality of the soul, and how to find contentment. Johnson s adaptation of the popular oriental tale displays his usual wit and perceptiveness; sceptical and probing, his tale nevertheless suggests that wisdom and self-knowledge need not be entirely beyond reach. This new edition relates the novel to Johnson s life and thought and to politics, society, and the global context of the Seven Years War. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World s Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199229970

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. What then is to be done? said Rasselas; the more we inquire, the less we can resolve. Rasselas and his companions escape the pleasures of the happy valley in order to make their choice of life . By witnessing the misfortunes and miseries of others they may come to understand the nature of happiness, and value it more highly. Their travels and enquiries raise important practical and philosophical questions concerning many aspects of the human condition, including the business of a poet, the stability of reason, the immortality of the soul, and how to find contentment. Johnson s adaptation of the popular oriental tale displays his usual wit and perceptiveness; sceptical and probing, his tale nevertheless suggests that wisdom and self-knowledge need not be entirely beyond reach. This new edition relates the novel to Johnson s life and thought and to politics, society, and the global context of the Seven Years War. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World s Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199229970

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