Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia

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Samuel Johnson’s

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

(1759) appeared in one of the most significant years of the Enlightenment: a year of war (considered the “Great Year” due to Britain’s many victories in the Seven Years’ War), astronomical occurrences (Halley’s Comet), cultural endeavors (the opening of the British Museum) and a series of entrances and exits (the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft, the death of George Friedrich Handel). Even more coincidentally, the book


would be forever linked with—Voltaire’s


—also appeared in 1759, as if Britain and France were each vying to make a definitive statement on the eighteenth century’s “choice of life”. Yet if Johnson felt the weight of the moment, he certainly responded in his best Grub Street…

2169 words

Citation: Grasso, Joshua. "The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 February 2018 [, accessed 13 June 2024.]

596 The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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