"Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol 16" by Samuel Johnson

Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol 16 Rasselas and Other Tales Samuel Johnson, Gwin J. Kolb

The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson
Publication date:
26 Dec 1990
Yale University Press
368 pages: 222 x 137mm


This volume brings together three of Johnson’s longest fictional pieces, showing the unusual similarities in some of their main themes and emphases. Rasselas, a philosophical tale that embodies the full range of Johnson’s thinking on moral, psychological, and literary matters, has been described as central to an understanding of Johnson and his age. “The Vision of Theodore,” a moral allegory, and “The Fountains,” a fairy tale, demonstrate the variety of Johnson’s narrative skills.
The three works are introduced and annotated by Gwin J. Kolb, a recognized authority on Rasselas. The texts reflect Kolb’s extensive examination of pertinent materials. The introductions, setting forth the known or probable circumstances that attended the creation and initial printings of the narratives, cover a wider range of topics than has been addressed in previous editions. And the historical notes, which concentrate on clarifying the meaning of numerous words, relating specific notions to Johnson’s expression of similar opinions elsewhere, and indicating antecedents of various parts of the texts, comprise the largest body of glosses that has ever accompanied the three pieces. The textual notes provide a record of Johnson’s revisions of Rasselas and of Mrs. Piozzi’s manuscript transcription of “The Fountains.” In all, this book will be the standard edition of these notable works.

"Splendid. . . . The new edition of Rasselas is the fullest to-date, long-awaited and worth waiting for, with lucid and informative introductions to the three works it brings together, and a valuable commentary."?Claude Rawson, London Review of Books

"This is the latest volume in the Yale edition, and like the volumes already published, it is handsomely made and usefully introduced and annotated. It includes the well-known Oriental tale, Rasselas, and two other, little-known fictional narratives, `The Vision of Theodore,? a moral allegory, and `The Fountains,? a fairy tale."?JAS, English Language Notes

"We can rejoice in a perfectly edited Rasselas. . . . Kolb points to significant Johnsonian parallels just sufficiently to inform or remind readers of necessary points for comparison. . . . By inviting attention to previous works on related issues, the notes provide too, with wonderful economy, nice exercises in that intellectual history that Johnson so much encouraged and was perhaps the first to name. . . . [Kolb?s] index is remarkably complete. Because it deals so very fully with themes as well as names and titles of works it will be of maximum use to all Johnsonians, as will the volumes as a whole. It is exemplary."?Paul Alkon, Johnsonian News Letter

"Without doubt Kolb?s introduction is the best anyone has ever written for an edition of Rasselas. There have been many editions, so his achievement is substantial. . . . I suspect that volume XVI may represent the summit of scholarly annotation of Johnson in this century."?Paul J. Korshin, Eighteenth-Century Fiction

"Kolb?s extensive knowledge of Johnson?s work and reading . . . [results in] a definitive account of Johnson?s complex psychology as well as his conscious intention. . . . Undoubtedly, Kolb?s synoptic knowledge of Johnson?s writing will help future commentators assess the satiric as well as the personal qualities of his narrative works."?Nigel Wood, British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies

"There is no question in my mind that all scholars and critics in the field will recognize this edition as the most authoritative and reliable one and an invaluable repository of Johnson scholarship."?Edward Tomarken, The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography