Abstract

Although Samuel Johnson’s theme of “the choice of life” in Rasselas has received plentiful scholarly attention, few accounts have pursued the possibility that this idea, rather than being the premise of Johnson’s exploration of human experience, is in fact the principal object of his critique. I argue that Johnson’s treatment of “the choice of life” in Rasselas is consistent with his presentation of the other dire examples of pernicious fantasy that abound throughout his oeuvre. He presents the fantasy of an ultimate “choice” as, in fact, a mode of deferral and even as an abdication of agency.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 523-536
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-03
Open Access
No
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