Friday, June 19, 2009

989. Oroonoko by Aphra Behn

Just finished Oroonoko which is number 989 on the 1001 list. I read it online through the University of Adelaide. It is a fairly short book so I was able to read it in a day. A lot has been said about it and since I doubt I can add much I'll pass on an indepth review. It wasn't a bad read, the story was pretty compelling in parts and there were a lot of thought provoking aspects to it all. I thought it was interesting that while the author wants us to feel compassion for poor Oroonoko/Caesar and the fate that has befallen him, she doesn't view slavery as such a bad thing and it is obvious that she believes strongly in an hierarchical (arguably patriarchial) order to society. The brief biography on Behn that I read portrayed her as a strong restorationist and supporter of Charles II. This really comes through in Oroonoko and I think colors the whole story (albeit it not in a bad way). I also think Oroonoko is one of those pieces that reveals itself more and more with subsequent re-reads and that I just barely scratched the surface. I'll be interested to read what scholars say about it and what their interpretations/criticisms are of it and Behn. I gave *** but I have a feeling that with re-reading it I'll amend this rating.

Started 6/18, finished just after midnight on 6/19

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