Author: Samuel Johnson
Publisher: Dar al Bihar (2005)
Pages: 271 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
Bilingual English-Arabic version of the classic “The History of Rasselas: Prince of Abissinia”.
Dual language books. The English and Arabic pages are facing each other, matching one-on-one with English on the left page, Arabic on the right page. Easy reference for individuals not strong in one of the languages. Well known fiction titles for different interests and levels.
Description of Book:
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, often abbreviated to Rasselas, is a novella about happiness by Samuel Johnson. The book's original working title was “The Choice of Life". He wrote the piece to help support his seriously ill mother with an intended completion date of January 22 1759 (the eve of his mothers death). The book was first published in April 1759 in England. Johnson is believed to have received a total of £75 for the copyright. The first American edition followed in 1768. The title page of this edition carried a quotation, inserted by the publisher Robert Bell, from La Rochefoucauld : “The labour or Exercise of the Body, freeth Man from the Pains of the Mind; and this constitutes the Happiness of the Poor”
Johnson was influenced by the vogue for exotic locations. He had translated A Voyage to Abyssinia by Jeronimo Lobo in 1735 and used it as the basis for what was described as a "philosophical romance". Ten years prior to writing Rasselas he published “The Vanity of Human Wishes” in which he describes the inevitable defeat of worldly ambition. It was considered by early readers as a work of philosophical and practical importance and critics often remark on the difficulty of classifying Rasselas as a novel. Johnson was a staunch opponent of slavery, revered by abolitionists, and Rasselas became a name adopted by emancipated slaves.
The plot concerns Rasselas, son of the King of Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia), who leaves his home in company with his sister, Nekayah, and a philosopher, Imlac, to discover the secret of a happy life. His observation of other kinds of people eventually leads to the conclusion that there is no easy path to happiness, and he returns to Abyssinia along with his companions. One of the more famous quotations from this story is of the character Imlac:
"That the dead are seen no more … I will not undertake to maintain, against the concurrent and unvaried testimony of all ages and all nations. There is no people, rude or learned, among whom apparitions of the dead are not related and believed. This opinion, which perhaps prevails as far as human nature is diffused, could become universal only by its truth; those that never heard of one another would not have agreed in a tale which nothing but experience can make credible. That it is doubted by single cavillers can very little weaken the general evidence; and some who deny it with their tongues confess it by their fears"
These special, condensed novels are intended for English speakers to learn Arabic, by reading side by side versions of these simplified famous novels.