Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave

Jennifer Donald (University of Glasgow)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

The extended title of Aphra Behn's famous short story or novel,

Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, A True History

, immediately indicates that the author intended the narrative to be understood as a factual account, a history, rather than a fiction. Behn positions herself as an “eye-witness” (9) to the majority of the events related in her narrative and provides an unimpeachable source for the remainder of her information, as she notes that “what I could not be witness of I received from the mouth of the chief actor in this history, the hero himself, who gave us the whole transactions of his youth” (9). Although Behn was undoubtedly influenced by the French romances of La Calprenède, Honoré d'Urfée and Mademoiselle de Scudèry, she is careful to emphasise that her tale is not the…

2215 words

Citation: Donald, Jennifer. "Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 July 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2995, accessed 25 July 2024.]

2995 Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.