Aphra Behn Essays

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Aphra Behn: Poems

Aphra Behn, recognized as being England’s first woman writer to earn money from her publications, is a woman who pushed boundaries with her writing in numerous ways. In addition to being a spy, playwright, and author of prose, Behn scandalized her...

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The Fair Jilt

Aphra Behn, as the first woman to earn her living by being a writer in English, known for her daring and controversial treatment of the subjects of sexuality and desire in her works, plays an important female narrative voice in the literary...

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Oroonoko

Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave by Aphra Behn is narrated by an unnamed white woman whose life overlaps with Oroonoko’s during his time as a slave in Surinam. When Oroonoko takes the narrator and several other European people to an island she...

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Oroonoko

Innovation of existing genre norms and conventions is an important fixture in literature from the late-17th through mid-19th centuries. A time characterized by much societal change, as literature grew available to the masses, more women became...

Oroonoko

...'twas amazing to imagine where it was he learned so much humanity; or, to give his accomplishments a juster name, where 'twas he got that real greatness of soul, those refined notions of true honour, that absolute generosity, and that softness...

Oroonoko

There is something inherently cathartic, inherently exciting about the ‘travel literature’ genre that emerged in the later 17th and early 18th centuries. The lands viewed were never accurately depicted; instead, the author would embellish local...

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Oroonoko

Oroonoko was a ground-breaking and revolutionary novella that depicted its African hero in a dignified, even regal, light and is considered to be one of the first works during this time era that showed a compassionate side towards Africans. It is...

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Oroonoko

In Oroonoko, Aphra Behn presents two very distinct civilizations: Coramantien, an African country ruled by royalty, and Surinam, an English colony in South America that is home to colonists and natives alike. However, Behn’s depictions of these...

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Oroonoko

Aphra Behn was born in the midst of the English Civil War and by the time of her death in 1689, she had seen Charles I executed by his own parliament, the overthrow and restoration of the monarchy with Charles II, and finally the deposition and...

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Oroonoko

Tragedy and romance are two genres that often go hand-in-hand to effectively enhance the qualities of each throughout the text in which they are present. Two texts that we have read this semester, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and Voltaire’s Candide, are...