Veronica's Reviews > The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson
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's review
May 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy
Read from May 26 to June 01, 2011

A different sort of fairy tale, definitely in the typical moralistic style of Samuel Johnson. Although it was definitely instructive, Johnson seems to be guilty of his own criticism against Milton, that "its perusal is a duty rather than a pleasure." It can get slow and plodding, and I finished it mostly out of a sense of obligation. The morals contained within are good, and Johnson, as usual, captures human nature accurately in its most elemental form, which is always a pleasure to read. But the characters lost a bit of their appeal through constant expostulations of natural and moral maxims, and the plot was obscured by constant overly-dialectical conversations. However, plot doesn't seem to be the main attraction of this book, and if Johnson was looking to write a moral tale, he fulfilled his purpose; but the lacking pleasurable elements detract from its effectiveness.
A good read if you're looking for life lessons, but it's somewhat of a chore to get through.

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