Johnson's only extended prose fiction is Rasselas, published in 1759, apparently to defray"Every man ought to read Rasselas and every wise man willread it over half a dozen times in his life. Indeed, a man would de well to read it once a year at least, for never was wisdom better put."
- Hilaire Belloc
To me, the major philosophical influence on this fable is Ecclesiastes. As you can see from the brief excerpt, Ecclesiastes, like Rasselas, centers on an experiment in living. Both examine various lifestyles and try to determine which is the best. Both consider all to be vanity.
Rasselas & his group never discover a life that will make them happy. And while they are searching, time is passing. He is well over 30 by the end of the story, and still unable to decide what to do with his life. As chapter 30 notes, "while you are making the choice of life, you are neglecting to live." Maybe there's fulfillment in groping.
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