Title: Immortality and Rasselas
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098361/00001
 Material Information
Title: Immortality and Rasselas : a study of the idea behind Johnson's apologue
Physical Description: vi, 165 leaves. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Walker, Robert Gary, 1947- ( Dissertant )
New, Melvyn ( Thesis advisor )
Williams, Aubrey L. ( Reviewer )
Schmeling, Gareth ( Reviewer )
Clark, Ira ( Reviewer )
Herbert, T. Walter ( Reviewer )
Sisler, Harry H. ( Degree grantor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1974
Copyright Date: 1974
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Immortality   ( lcsh )
Soul   ( lcsh )
English thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Abstract: The thesis of this study is that Samuel Johnson's History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, is from beginning to end an argument that man has an immortal soul. The basic message of Rasselas , I believe, is neither sceptical nor contradictory (as some recent critics have contended) but profoundly Christian. In 1752 on the occasion of his wife's death Johnson turned toward that one doctrine of Christian thought most vital in the tradition of consolation, the doctrine of immortality, and made it the topic of a celebratory sermon. I maintain that seven years later the illness and death of his mother that was the immediate occasion of the writing of Rasselas prompted Johnson once more to turn to this doctrine and this time to embody it in the form of a moral apologue. The thesis of this study is that Samuel Johnson's History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, is from beginning to end an argument that man has an immortal soul. The basic message of Rasselas , I believe, is neither skeptical nor contradictory (as some recent critics have contended) but profoundly Christian. In 1752 on the occasion of his wife's death Johnson turned toward that one doctrine of Christian thought most vital in the tradition of consolation, the doctrine of immortality, and made it the topic of a celebratory sermon. I maintain that seven years later the illness and death of his mother that was the immediate occasion of the writing of Rasselas prompted Johnson once more to turn to this doctrine and this time to embody it in the form of a moral apologue. argument for the immortal soul of man and that it would have been recognized as such by many contemporary readers because of similar arguments about man's uniqueness in discourses on the soul. Next, the vanity of human wishes concept, long recognized as an essential part of Rasselas , takes on additional meaning when viewed as an essential part of one of the traditional proofs of man's immortality. An examination of a less frequently treated, but equally important topic, the nature of evil in Rasselas , lends support to my belief that the argument from desire, especially, is the means Johnson employs in his apologue to the end of rendering a proof of immortality. Then I argue that the memento more theme, meaningless, without a belief in an afterlife, dominates the final third of the work and climaxes in its last chapter but one in a metaphysical discussion of the nature of the soul. When all of Rasselas is seen as an argument, initially implicit but finally explicit, for the immortality of man in a Christian scheme, the last chapter of the work,' so often regarded as a critical puzzle, is a puzzle no longer.
Thesis: Thesis -- University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 158-164.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098361
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000582602
oclc - 14145406
notis - ADB0979

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