Oroonoko, Rover and Other Works  -     Edited By: Janet Todd
    By: Aphra Behn
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Oroonoko, Rover and Other Works

Edited By: Janet Todd
Penguin Classics / 1993 / Paperback

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Product Description

By the time of her death in 1689, the poet, playwright, novelist and political satirist Aphra Behn had become the first truly professional woman writer in English. Famous for her frank eroticism, enjoyed as much for her "female sweetness" as for her "manly grace" she was "sole Empress of the Land of Wit" - yet two centuries of female modesty were to pass before she could again come into her own. This selection, edited and introduced by Professor Janet Todd, demonstrates the full sophistication and vitality of Aphra Behn's genius. It contains the plays The Rover and The Widow Ranter (the first English play to be set in the American colonies) together with Love Letters to a Gentleman, a choice of poems and two short novels - The Fair Jilt and Oroonoko - which are among the most innovative prose writings of the seventeenth century.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1993
Dimensions: 8.12 X 5.12 (inches)
ISBN: 0140433384
ISBN-13: 9780140433388

Publisher's Description

"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.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author Bio

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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