Quote-Samuel Johnson

Poverty has, in very large cities, very different appearances: it is often concealed in splendour, and often in extravagence. It is the care of a very great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest: they support themselves by temporary expedients, every day is lost in contriving for the morrow.”

–from Rasselas, Chapter XXV by Samuel Johnson

Rasselas makes my top ten book list. Published in 1759, Johnson’s words still work in today’s world. Can’t tell you the number of times I think of that quote….

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Quote-Samuel Johnson

  1. It is both true and terrible, terrible indeed precisely because it’s true.

    So what is Rasselas, what makes it so good?

  2. Guy A. Savage

    When I say: “top ten books” I should add that it’s my favourite book list–not the “best” books ever written. Don’t have the ego for that sort of statement plus I haven’t read everything ever written on the planet, so how could I say the best books ever? So Rasselas, is one of my favourite books.

    Can’t count the number of times I’ve read it. It’s the story of a young prince who is brought up in wealth and luxury in an exotic paradise. He becomes discontent in spite of his surroundings but is told he should be ‘happy’ as he has everything he desires. Obsessed with the secret of happiness and deciding that experiencing unhappiness is a crucial part of the issue, he leaves his home and travels with the intention of solving the question of whether or not humans can achieve happiness.

    In many ways, it’s a companion novel to Candide. They both have their similarities, but Rasselas is not a satire and is not, unfortunately, as widely read.

    I have many quotes underlined in my copy (which is falling apart), and the quotes are full of wisdom when it comes to the subject of the human condition and our questionable ability to achieve happiness

  3. Candide is among my favourite works, I’ll be buying this one soonish.

    My copy of Somebody Owes Me Money and of Parisian Sketches turned up yesterday, hopefully i should get to one or the other shortly, but thanks for encouraging me particularly with respect to the Westlake which otherwise I wouldn’t even have heard of.

  4. Guy A. Savage

    Somebody Owes Me Money is just fun, and sometimes you need that after–well–He Died With His Eyes Wide Open, for example. The Raymond novel you suggested is fantastic, but I need to detox from that one before going onto the second factory novel.

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