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Versions of Blackness

Key Texts on Slavery from the Seventeenth Century

Versions of Blackness
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Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko (1688) is one of the most widely studied works of seventeenth-century literature, because of its powerful representation of slavery and complex portrayal of ways in which differing races and cultures - European, Black African, and Native American - observe and misinterpret each other. This edition presents a new edition of Oroonoko, with unprecedentedly full and informative commentary, along with complete texts of three major British seventeenth-century works concerned with race and colonialism: Henry Neville's The Isle of Pines (1668), Behn's Abdelazer (1676), and Thomas Southerne's tragedy Oroonoko (1696). It combines these with a rich anthology of European discussions of slavery, racial difference, and colonial conquest from the mid-sixteenth century to the time of Behn's death. Many are taken from important works that have not hitherto been easily available, and the collection offers an unrivaled resource for studying the culture that produced Britain's first major fictions of slavery.
Cambridge University Press; July 2007
417 pages; ISBN 9780511286964
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