LibriVox: The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson

September 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

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LibriVoxThere are a lot of new audiobooks showing up on LibriVox every day of the week. This means I get to pick and choose amongst a vast roster of titles that I could possibly tell you about. One that I was not planning to post about was a 1759 Fantasy novel by Samuel Johnson. I had nothing against Johnson. I just hadn’t read any of his books. Sure I knew he had written a dictionary, but it wasn’t one of the ones that I had read. The problem really was I just didn’t know enough about Johnson to be interested in his novel. Frankly, the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Dr. Samuel Johnson was how great a character he was in the Ink and Incapability episode of Blackadder. That one never gets old.

But, then today I was listening to my favourite Australian podcast, ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone, and they mentioned this book. I suspect this wasn’t fated, it being the 300th anniversary of Johnson’s birth people around the world are thinking about old Johnson – but even if it was fate – either if I changed my mind or my mind was changed – after listening to that show I’m telling you about this novel now. The show |MP3| was actually on Johnson’s stoic christian philosophy – or rather his reaction to the ancient stoics. Host Alan Saunders, and guest, John Wiltshire, talked about a poem and then this book and it’s position in Johnson’s philosophy. It was fascinating! Now to listen…

LibriVox - The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia by Samuel JohnsonThe History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia
By Samuel Johnson; Read by Martin Geeson
17 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: September 25, 2009
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.”

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/rasselas-prince-of-abyssinia-by-samuel-johnson.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

In addition to the reader, Martin Geeson, this audiobook was produced by:

Dedicated Proof-Listener: Stav Nisser
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Leni

[Thanks to all three LibriVoxateers]

Posted by Jesse Willis