Oroonoko Or the Royal Slave
This fascinating 17th century novella is written by the first female proffessional writer, and its hero- Oroonoko- is the first black hero in an English prose work. Encased within the quite rigid structure of the romance, it also contains an account
of contemporary slavery and comments on white racism. What I found most interesting, however, were the autobiographical descriptions of Behn's brief experience in colonised Africa. In particular, the ways she modifies English plant and animal words to attempt to describe the exoticism and overwhelming beauty of Africa to an English reader- this provoked me to consider the perhaps finite capacities of the english language.