Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia

Samuel JOHNSON (1709 - 1784)

In this enchanting fable (subtitled The Choice of Life), Rasselas and his retinue burrow their way out of the totalitarian paradise of the Happy Valley in search of that triad of eighteenth-century aspiration - life, liberty and happiness.

According to that quirky authority, James Boswell, Johnson penned his only work of prose fiction in a handful of days to cover the cost of his mother's funeral. The stylistic elegance of the book and its wide-ranging philosophical concerns give no hint of haste or superficiality.

Among other still burning issues Johnson's characters pursue questions of education, colonialism, the nature of the soul and even climate alteration.
Johnson's profoundest concern, however, is with the alternating attractions of solitude and social participation, seen not only as the ultimate life-choice but as the arena in which are played out the deepest fears of the individual: "Of the uncertainties of our present state, the most dreadful and alarming is the uncertain continuance of Reason.” (Summary by Martin Geeson)

Genre(s): Action & Adventure Fiction, Fantasy Fiction

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - Chapters I-IV Martin Geeson
00:29:55
Play 02 02 - Chapters V-VII Martin Geeson
00:17:45
Play 03 03 - Chapters VIII, IX Martin Geeson
00:16:51
Play 04 04 - Chapters X-XII Martin Geeson
00:29:34
Play 05 05 - Chapters XIII-XVI Martin Geeson
00:22:58
Play 06 06 - Chapters XVII-XX Martin Geeson
00:18:35
Play 07 07 - Chapters XXI, XXII Martin Geeson
00:14:39
Play 08 08 - Chapters XXIII-XXVI Martin Geeson
00:19:14
Play 09 09 - Chapters XXVII, XXVIII Martin Geeson
00:13:32
Play 10 10 - Chapters XXIX, XXX Martin Geeson
00:17:25
Play 11 11 - Chapters XXXI-XXXIII Martin Geeson
00:12:15
Play 12 12 - Chapters XXXIV-XXXVII Martin Geeson
00:23:50
Play 13 13 - Chapters XXXVIII, XXXIX Martin Geeson
00:24:34
Play 14 14 - Chapters XL-XLIII Martin Geeson
00:16:46
Play 15 15 - Chapters XLIV, XLV Martin Geeson
00:15:16
Play 16 16 - Chapters XLVI, XLVII Martin Geeson
00:23:52
Play 17 17 - Chapters XLVIII, XLIX Martin Geeson
00:13:42