The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson, Abraham Raimbach, Robert Smirke

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, originally titled The Prince of Abissinia: A Tale, though often abbreviated to Rasselas, is an apologue about happiness by Samuel Johnson. The book's original working title was "The Choice of Life". At the age of fifty, he wrote the piece in only one week to help pay the costs of his mother's funeral, intending to complete it on 22 January 1759 (the eve of his mother's death). The book was first published in April 1759 in England. Johnson is believed to have received a total of £75 for the copyright. The first American edition followed in 1768. The title page of this edition carried a quotation, inserted by the publisher Robert Bell, from La Rochefoucauld: "The labour or Exercise of the Body, freeth Man from the Pains of the Mind; and this constitutes the Happiness of the Poor".Johnson was influenced by the vogue for exotic locations including Ethiopia. He had translated A Voyage to Abyssinia by Jerónimo Lobo in 1735 and used it as the basis for a "philosophical romance". Ten years prior to writing Rasselas he published The Vanity of Human Wishes in which he describes the inevitable defeat of worldly ambition. Early readers considered Rasselas to be a work of philosophical and practical importance and critics often remark on the difficulty of classifying it as a novel. Johnson was a staunch opponent of slavery, revered by abolitionists, and Rasselas became a name adopted by emancipated slaves.

The 1157th greatest fiction book of all time


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  1. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

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The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback 158475 $7.24 $7.38 2009
Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia Kindle Edition 452650 2012
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia Paperback 914018 $12.99 $0.50 2008
The History of Rasselas: Prince of Abissinia (Dover Books on Literature & Drama) Paperback 655130 $5.24 $3.48 2005
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Penguin Classics) Paperback 2012630 $29.27 $0.10 1977
GradeSaver (TM) ClassicNotes: The History of Rasselas Prince of Abissinia Paperback 4381735 $9.99 2016
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia; VOL. I Hardcover 8937087 $11.69 $29.73 2017
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics) Kindle Edition 708324 2009
The History of Rasselasm Prince of Abissinia (Xist Classics) Kindle Edition 559296 2015
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia (The World's Classics) Paperback 8232448 $47.25 $0.08 1989
The History of Rasselas: Prince of Abissinia (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback 2284684 $27.37 $1.09 1999
Rasselas (Oxford English Novels) Hardcover 7001900 $115.48 $2.61 1971
The History of Rasselas: Prince of Abissinia (Dover Books on Literature & Drama) Kindle Edition 977898 2012
The history of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. A tale. By Dr. Johnson. Two volumes in one. Cooke's edition. Embellished with superb engravings. Volume 1 of 2 Paperback 10272103 $2.69 $25.92 2010