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PRINCE OF ABYSSINIA
Edited with Introduction and Notes by
OLIVER FARRAR EMERSON, A. M., Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and English Philology
in Cornell University
The words of the wise man, “Of making many books," might almost be limited to editions of Rasselas, and still be true. Yet the new editor-as always-trusts that something will be found in his little edition to make sufficient apology for its appearance. There seemed to be some reason, at least, for another attempt to edit a book that is so often read in schools.
In the first place, no modern edition available for class use accurately follows the original text, and many depart in not a few particulars important for a systematic study of style. Besides, there has never been a careful study of the sources of that conception which introduces the book and gives the setting to the tale, the story of the happy valley. Again, there seemed to be needed some interpretation of the book in relation to the thought of the time of its publication, since this alone can give it a living interest to-day. The other parts of the introduction, it is hoped, will not prove useless.
In making the notes, two purposes have been prominent. First, Rasselas has been largely illustrated from references to Johnson's other works. Second, the allusions have been explained on the basis of eighteenth-century knowledge and opinion. How