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Mary Astell

See ANNE FINCH (Kennedy).

Aphra Behn

Ballaster, Ros. “Taking Liberties: Revisiting Behn’s Libertinism.” Women’s Writing 19.2 (2012): 165–176. Analyzing the use and meaning of the word “charm” in The Rover and Behn’s poetry The poetry, Ballaster argues that Behn substitutes the “bewitching attractiveness of the rake’s voice” with the “rapture created by her verse, whose magic calls up the ‘charms’ of both physical and poetic form.” Ballaster sheds new light on “Behn’s relation to the materialist philosophy of Lucretius and to the circle of wits around the Earl of Rochester” by demonstrating that, for Behn, poetry is both an “embodiment of Lucretian atomism” and an “acceptable alternative for women to the wayward and volatile sexual ‘charms’ of the rakes.”

Harol, Corrinne. “The Passion of Oroonoko: Passive Obedience, The Royal Slave, and Aphra Behn’s Baroque Realism.” ELH 79.2 (2012): 447–475. Harol situates Oroonoko “within the context of debates about passive obedience and political obligation” during the Glorious Revolution. She concludes that Oroonoko “leverages residual theories and forms of representing human action (baroque allegory, romance, patriarchal theories of obligation) against emergent ones (realism, novels, individuality),” allowing human passivity to prevail.

Hayden, Judy A. “‘As Far as a Woman’s Reasoning May Go’: Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, and the New Science.” Travel Narratives, the New Science, and Literary Discourse, 1569–1750. Ed. Judy A. Hayden. Burlington: Ashgate, 2012: 123–142. Hayden suggests that in Oroonoko, Behn engages in the discourse of New Science, overturning the “masculine configuration of science and the feminization of Nature in the seventeenth century.” By tracing the ethnographic and geographic details offered by Behn, Hayden demonstrates that while Oroonoko can be read as a “memoir, a political critique, an antislavery text, or feminist polemic,” it is “nevertheless both a travel narrative and a natural history of Surinam.”

Hobby, Elaine. “‘The world was never without some mad men’: Aphra Behn, Jane Sharp and the Body.” Women’s Writing 19.2 (2012): 177–191. Hobby examines a range of Behn’s works, including The Rover, The Lucky Chance and “The Disappointment,” within the context of her contemporaries’ writings on the body. Focusing on the relationship of Behn’s writing to a “half-submerged world of women’s talk at gossipings and christenings, and on wedding nights,” Hobby identifies “defensive comic strategies deployed by Behn” as well as “some common recent misreadings of her works.”

Hughes, Derek. “Blackness in Gobineau and Behn: Oroonoko and Racial Pseudo-Science.” Women’s Writing 19.2 (2012): 204–221. Hughes warns against an anachronistic reading of Oroonoko that “imports the racist preconceptions of later ages into Behn’s fictional world.” Whereas the end of the eighteenth century is marked by “pseudo-scientific reasoning about racial hierarchies” connected to “the craze for classification,” Behn’s contemporaries “had no theories about innate racial inferiority,” but rather justified slavery “in terms of religion, not in terms of skin colour.”

Mallipeddi, Ramesh. “Spectacle, Spectatorship, and Sympathy in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 45.4 (2012): 475–496. Examining the “language of spectacle and extreme visuality in Oroonoko as a strategy for conveying exoticism to the reader’s gaze,” Mallipeddi contends that Behn’s novella “grasps, in a way no other work of its time does, the transformation of the black body into a commodity at the moment of its insertion into circuits of commercial exchange in the Atlantic basin.” Mallipeddi proposes that the “female narrator’s vicarious response to the spectacle of Oroonoko’s public execution” allows Behn to formulate “fundamental dilemmas intrinsic to scenes of sympathy,” which “would continue to shape the English citizens’ engagement with Caribbean slaves throughout the long eighteenth century.”

Mowry, Melissa. “‘Past Remembrance or History’: Aphra Behn’s The Widdow Ranter, or, How the Collective Lost Its Honor,” ELH 79.3 (2012): 597–621. Mowry addresses the literary and cultural significance of The Widdow Ranter as one of the “most formidable rebuttals generated during the 1680s” to “the hermeneutics of collectivity that had arisen during the civil wars and that continued to vex royalists and other conservatives during the late Stuart period.”

Musselwhite, Paul. “‘What Town’s This Boy?’: English Civic...

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