Samuel Johnson’s ‘Rasselas’: An Introduction

Theodore Dalrymple has completed his first online course ever for Ralston College on Samuel Johnson’s only novel Rasselas. There is an option to gain free, but limited access to the course, as well as purchasing the course for a one-time payment of $49. A class with our skeptical doctor as the professor. What could be better?

In this six-week course, Dalrymple will facilitate an encounter with Samuel Johnson, a towering figure of English literature. The course contains the full text and an original audiobook production of The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, which depicts its hero’s “choice of life.”

The novel will show you that human life, far from being perfect—or even perfectible—inevitably contains a large measure of dissatisfaction. Johnson teaches us that the best way forward is not to ignore this fact and embrace the false hope of utopianism, but rather to accept that life involves many trade-offs. The art of life, for Johnson, is largely about making such compromises.

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