Once merely a footnote in Restoration and eighteenth-century studies and rarely taught, Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave (1688), by Aphra Behn, is now essential reading for scholars and a classroom favorite. It appears in general surveys and in courses on early modern British writers, postcolonial literature, American literature, women's literature, drama, the slave narrative, and autobiography.
Part 1 of this volume, "Materials," provides not only resources for the teacher of Oroonoko but also a brief chronology of Behn's life and work. In part 2, "Approaches," essays offer a diversity of perspectives appropriate to a text that challenges student assumptions and contains not one story but many: Oroonoko as a romance, as a travel account, as a heroic tragedy, as a window to seventeenth-century representations of race, as a reflection of Tory-Whig conflict in the time of Charles II.
About the Author
Cynthia Richards, professor and chair of the English department at Wittenberg University, is the editor of Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman; or, Maria and the author of articles on Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Hays. Mary Ann O'Donnell, professor emerita of English and former dean of the School of Arts at Manhattan College, teaches in the Marymount Manhattan College Program at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Among her publications on Behn is the primary and secondary bibliography of Behn's works.