Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works

Overview

‘We are bought and sold like apes or monkeys, to be the sport of women, fools, and cowards, and the support of rogues’

When Prince Oroonoko’s passion for the virtuous Imoinda arouses the jealousy of his grandfather, the lovers are cast into slavery and transported from Africa to the colony of Surinam. Oroonoko’s noble bearing soon wins the respect of his English captors, but his struggle for freedom brings about his destruction. Inspired by Aphra Behn’s visit to Surinam, Oroonoko (1688) reflects the author’s ...

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Overview

‘We are bought and sold like apes or monkeys, to be the sport of women, fools, and cowards, and the support of rogues’

When Prince Oroonoko’s passion for the virtuous Imoinda arouses the jealousy of his grandfather, the lovers are cast into slavery and transported from Africa to the colony of Surinam. Oroonoko’s noble bearing soon wins the respect of his English captors, but his struggle for freedom brings about his destruction. Inspired by Aphra Behn’s visit to Surinam, Oroonoko (1688) reflects the author’s romantic view of Native Americans as simple, superior peoples ‘in the first state of innocence, before men knew how to sin’. The novel also reveals Behn’s ambiguous attitude to African slavery – while she favoured it as a means to strengthen England’s power, her powerful and moving work conveys its injustice and brutality.

This new edition of Oroonoko is based on the first printed edition of 1688, and includes a chronology, bibliography and notes. In her introduction, Janet Todd examines Aphra Behn’s views of slavery, colonization and politics, and her position as a professional woman writer in the Restoration.

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What People Are Saying

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's Own
All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Athra Behn, for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140433388
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 677,940
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Aphra Behn (c. 1640–1689), born in Kent, England, claimed to have visited the British colony of Surinam, where Oroonoko is set. She wrote poetry, short stories, stage plays, and political propaganda for the Tory party, as well as her great amorous and political novel, Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister.

Janet Todd is Francis Hutcheson Professor of English Literature at the University of Glasgow and an honorary fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
Selected Bibliography of Secondary Works 23
Note on the Text 25
The Fair Jilt 27
Oroonoko 73
Love-Letters to a Gentleman 143
The Rover 155
The Widow Ranter 249
Love Armed 329
Epilogue to Sir Patient Fancy 329
The Disappointment 331
To Mr Creech (under the Name of Daphnis) on his Excellent Translation of Lucretius 335
A Letter to Mr Creech at Oxford, Written in the last great Frost 339
Song: On her Loving Two Equally 342
To the fair Clarinda, who made Love to me, imagined more than Woman 343
On Desire: a Pindaric 344
A Pindaric Poem to the Reverend Doctor Burnet 347
Notes 351
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