Troping Oroonoko from Behn to Bandele
Susan B. Iwanisziw
Ashgate, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 203 pages
This volume of essays invites the reader to assess literary texts from within the frame of their own cultural history, which includes issues of authorship and literary or stage convention as well as the social and political institutions that shaped and marketed that literature. The collection initiates just such an in-depth and focused analysis of the complex literary and social history of the royal slave Oroonoko. All seven essays address elements in the evolution of Oroonoko, from Behn's 1688 novella to Southerne's 1696 dramatic adaptation, and thence to the adaptations by Hawkesworth (1759), Gentleman (1760), Anonymous (1760), Ferriar (1788), Bellamy (1789) and Bandele (1999) who serially expropriated the play as a platform to debate responsibility in matters of slavery and colonialism. This study provides rigorous, focused research on a single, complex and controversial topic but also complicates some of our received notions about 'Oroonoko', slavery and abolition.
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