Introduction and Notes by Michael Irwin, Professor of English Literature, University of Kent at CanterburyRasselas is a provocative fable about 'the choice of life'. Bored by the endless contentment of 'the happy valley' in which he has been brought up, Prince Rasselas escapes with his sister. They rove the world searching for the secret of happiness and striving to find the ideal way to live. Repeatedly the pleasures they glimpse dissolve on closer acquaintance, and the great men they admire prove flawed. Where, then, are happiness and purpose to be found?These questions,of course, remain open for each generation; but none has discussed them with more wisdom and humanity than Dr. Johnson. Rasselas is a searching and often darkly humorous commentary on the human condition as well as a classic of English prose.