The World Wide Web: Untangling Transatlantic Connections in the Work of Aphra Behn

Jane Milling, University of Exeter, UK
Cynthia Richards, Wittenberg University, USA

1. Rationale

This course unit investigates the construction and performance of national and racial identity, Englishness and “Americanness” in the work of Aphra Behn. The three central texts to be studied are Behn’s The Widow Ranter (1689) and her novel, Oroonoko (1688), alongside its adaptation by Southerne (1695). The project grew out of our shared interest in Aphra Behn and theatre. We discovered connections in the ways we already taught Behn and her work. The idea of a joint project arose, which would allow our students to use each other as a key resource in drawing attention to the ways in which the identity of the “other” is named, constructed and performed in the context of the colonial project.

These texts rehearse and name a difference. In The Widow Ranter, Behn plays with the notion of Englishness, setting it in opposition to the formation of identities in the New World—what the class in Ohio takes as “Americanness.” In The Widow Ranter and in Oroonoko, the novel and play, the construction and performance of identity in terms of race and gender are leading issues. In many ways, our classes reproduce this dynamic. The students in both classes are, in effect, named by these texts. All three explore the tensions surrounding imperialism and its effects on British identity. Moreover, in naming the world that is to be conquered, these works give shape to the American identity as well. The collaborative approach to these texts insured that our students did not miss these important “lessons.”

Students interrogated these texts through small-group research investigations and frequent e-mail exchanges. Our assumption was that our students remained embedded in the national identities so central to these texts and that these internet-facilitated “transatlantic connections” helped them understand precisely how. More importantly, we asked our students to perform these “national selves” by acting a scene from one of these plays, and to do so for an audience of their “others.” Key questions these activities forced them to ask were:
How was “Englishness” performed, and how do we perform "Englishness"?
How was, and how do we, perform the "new world other"?

2. The Texts

These three central texts are ideal for our goals on many levels. First and most obviously, all three take as their subject the demands, political and economic, of the new world, and its effect on the traditions and values of the old. They all three stage racial confrontations and in Behn’s case, do so in ways that highlight the fluid nature of racial identity during the period and the radical contingency of racial status in a world yet unformed. Oroonoko, the African prince, takes on the white plantation owners who both represent the interests of the English monarchy and through their baser trade commitments at the same time undermine them. The high-born American settler Nathaniel Bacon, in his rebellion against an absent English governor, both challenges the prerogative of the aristocratic state and represents its interests by opposing the mercantile and cynical desires of the largely lower-class American colonists. Both plays stage an interracial romance—Oroonoko and the white Imoinda in Southerne’s revision of Behn’s novel and Bacon and the Indian Queen, Semernia, in The Widow Ranter—romantic alliances that make even more difficult the assigning of proper heroic roles. Indeed, in all three, gender further complicates the racial equations, as some women—including Behn herself though both her represented authorial voice and through the character the Widow Ranter, appear to gain power in these less scripted venues, but often at a perceived cost to the racialized male other.

In essence, all three rehearse the same story, but they tell it with a difference: that of a noble, high-born hero who rebels against some of the more troubling effects of British imperialism. It is precisely this repetition that makes this sequence so apropos to a course on performance. Students through this repetition can see the scripting of certain national identities, yet also see the ways in which these various texts produce different effects. For example, what happens when one leaves out the romantic past of the African prince and alters the race of his lover? What happens when the rebellious hero is English, yet his heroic fate remains the same as the African’s and his sympathies more clearly in accord with those of the Native Americans? Moreover, each performance is based on a “true story,” Oroonoko on Behn’s memories of Surinam, and The Widow Ranter on Strange News from Virginia, the 1677 account of Bacon’s unsuccessful rebellion. Students then can directly interrogate the difference between the real and the staged.

3. The Context of the Project
Jane Milling is a lecturer in Performance Studies at the University of Exeter. The course unit entitled ‘Transatlantic Connections” was part of a first-year course (Drama 1008) entitled “Research and Performance.” In the UK, the students found the engagement with race and with colonial issues most demanding. Initially many found it difficult to think of their Englishness as something cultivated and coded for particular purposes, and they were surprised by the key role that the stage has played in making this happen. For most of the UK students, thinking about the construction and performance of “whiteness” was also a troubling and new concern.

Cynthia Richards is an Associate Professor of English at Wittenberg University, a liberal arts college in Springfield, Ohio. The course unit was part of a broader, upper-level survey of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theater (English 307), entitled The Theatre of the Eighteenth-Century: Performing the Self. Like their UK counterparts, the Wittenberg students were most challenged by the fluid yet highly charged racial and national identities found in these three texts. Most disorienting for them was Behn’s The Widow Ranter where the representation of colonial “Americans” did not conform to their own mythologies of early American liberatory politics and where instead the English hero serves that democratizing role. Nor did they find Oroonoko, in either its novel or dramatic form, offering an uncomplicated narrative of emancipation, but rather one that required an identification on the part of the reader or audience with class-based hierarchies. The comic possibilities for women in these staged “new worlds” was also a surprise, and certainly complicated notions of solidarity between female liberations and racial ones.

Because we were teaching in two different departments (Drama and English), we have students with different anxieties and capabilities. The Drama students were expected to interrogate through performance the types, roles, relationships and possibilities of the The Widow Ranter and the Southerne Oroonoko texts. The English literature students brought a level of analysis and fluency in literary terms, cultivated through engagement with the theories of Judith Butler and Michel Foucault. The interaction between student groups was very constructive, with UK Drama students being challenged with difficult and mind-opening questions about race, “American” identity and text in particular. Wittenberg students were challenged to think more strategically about their interpretative choices and to unsettle some of their more entrenched notions of a personal identity through the act of performance and their exchange with a UK audience. The Exeter students were able to offer insights and questions about how one performs race, gender and “English” or “American” type or character, and were able to begin to assess the impact that “staged” images of these figures might have had. The richness of this collaboration was in the different starting points in discipline and national terms that these groups bring.

The first year students from Exeter course went on to develop adaptations of The Tempest which they performed, based on the issues, themes and work that are generated by our project. The junior and senior English majors in the Wittenberg course read and analyzed the comparative performance of race in The Interesting Narrative of Life of Olaudah Equiano and examined how the performance of self becomes more regulated through such works as Clarissa and later eighteenth-century drama and autobiography.

4. The Performance Component

For the Wittenberg students, performance was a novel concept in at least two ways. Although the class attracted a few theatre students, for most the idea of performing the text as a means of understanding it was quite radical. The “shock” of such an exercise was in part the point; it helped these students re-conceive the meaning of character and interpretation, two rather stock phrases in introductory literary criticism, through the immediacy of playing the part. Yet it was also novel from a theoretical point of view. The thematic objective of the course was to chart the eighteenth-century narrative of self through its representation in plays, novels, and autobiographies and how the definition of self shifts from an exterior or performed entity to a more interior or essential one. By playing a character from one of these plays, students could understand firsthand both the performance of the Restoration self and, even more importantly, the “performance” of their own contemporary selves as they came to terms with what makes these characters so alien. Viewing these performances with their “transatlantic others” helped them identify what aspects of these readings were culturally and nationally determined.
For the Exeter students, in their first year, the “shock” was the level of research demand that was then necessary to turn into performance. The performance demands of the “commentary” on the scene required them to consider different modes of performance to what they consider naturalism, which in the first year can become a default performance position.


5. The joint research project and e-mail exchange as complementary to the theoretical approaches

The joint research project was to encourage mixed groups of US/UK students to independent research and contextual reading. They collected background and theoretical material to support their working process on the scenes. The working process of rehearsal on the scene could not develop without the additional information and questions generated by the research, and the research informed the performance decisions they made. The topics of slavery, trade and the new economy, the new world colonies, government and rebellion, and women and society required students to focus on key elements of the plays and their context.

The e-mail exchanges provided a venue for more personal reflections. Students in each course began by reflecting on their own notions of “Englishness” and “Americanness” prior to reading these texts. As they received responses on these personal reflections from their transatlantic “chat group” and further explored the three texts, they revised some of their earlier conclusions. The e-mail questions on the individual texts were identical in order to help the students identify collaboratively the subtle difference among these works.

6. Technical Component of the Course
After much discussion about firewalls at both universities, the students communicated via email, rather than chat-room, outside the class. We used WebCT as a mechanism to host open live exchange and discussion on the research project. Exeter students were graciously allowed access via password to a Wittenberg-based WebCT site. Many of the teething problems were ironed out in a pilot trial pre-course

The difficulties of live-streaming video of performance across the Atlantic via satellite, which at first seemed a tantalizing possibility, made any notion of a live transatlantic connection impossible. Early experiments with this very expensive technology as a studio tool in the UK revealed some serious glitches that would only be exacerbated by satellite delay. But one day…? Filming the performances, mounting the video on the web and watching them together in class for discussion as a shared audience seemed the simplest, cheapest and most useful alternative to date.

7. Concluding Remarks
Difficulties, obviously, arose. When working with technology, glitches seem to be the norm rather than the exception. In addition, the reticent and more bookish students in the upper-level literature class experienced some stage fright when confronted with the reality of performing in front of true British actors. The first-year Exeter drama students encountered some writer’s block when aligned with their more narrative-driven and experienced American cohort. Yet even with such difficulties, we found the exchange a success. For one, the topic itself had become more relevant than we could have ever imagined when we first designed the course. Imperialism, occupation, colonialism, and the significance of transatlantic connections between the UK and the US were no longer abstract terms, but the stuff of the six o’clock news. Interrogating these terms became not simply a sound pedagogical tool, but a moral imperative. Moreover, we found our own transatlantic exchange productive and enlightening. We learned important lessons about our differences—both cultural and disciplinary—yet also how alike we were in determining what really mattered when exploring a transatlantic text.

8. Handouts
We set the following three assignments alongside independent reading and experiment: firstly, the e-mail to initiate contact and open discussion, secondly, the research task to share findings from independent research across the Atlantic, and thirdly, the performance component within the US or UK groups, but shared with an audience of “other” students via the web and through “net meeting” for audience feedback. The following assignments were presented as handouts to the students at the time in which these various collaborative tasks were introduced.

Assignment #1: E-mail and Chat-Room Discussions:

Personal Reflection:

[Instructor note: Students responded to these questions first in either a journal format or a response paper. Then, they shared their responses with another student in the UK or US classroom via e-mail. Students first addressed these questions prior to reading the assigned texts and then returned to these same questions at the end of the course section to discuss their responses with the same UK or US student.]

• Do you see yourself as having a national and/or racial identity?
• How would you define that identity?
• How does gender impact that racial and/or national identity?
• How would you define “Englishness”?
• How would you define “Americanness”?

General Questions:

[Instructor note: Students responded to these questions first in either a journal format or a response paper, then shared their responses with another student in the UK or US classroom via e-mail.]

• What is your understanding of “character” at this period? How does that understanding differ/correspond to contemporary uses of this term?
• What is your understanding of “self” during this period? What did it mean to “perform a self” on the Restoration stage? How does it correspond to our contemporary notion of “self”?
• What impact did gender have on the possibilities of “self-hood”? Are female selves the same as male selves? What would complicate the performance of a female self?
• What impact did race have on the possibilities of “self-hood’? What would complicate the performance of a racial self?
• To what extent does Englishness impact on the presentation of characters/actors in the period?
• To what extent does “Americanness” impact on the presentation of characters/actors in this period?

Specific Questions on the Assigned Texts:

Behn’s Oroonoko

[Instructor note: Each set of questions for each assigned text is identical. The goal is for students to uncover through this repetition of questions similarities in the representation of racial, national and gendered identities in these texts and to detect the subtle, yet significant differences. These questions were discussed in class and also in groups of 8 students—4 UK and 4 US—via Web CT chatroom. The chat room groups were the same as the research groups.]

• Who emerges as the hero/heroine of this tale?
• How would you define the racial identity/national identity of the hero/heroine?
• How does gender impact that identity?
• Does this text promote the virtues of The New World or argue for the values of the Old?
• What constitutes “Englishness” in this play? What constitutes “Americanness”? How are those terms defined in the play? What values are associated with each?
• What role do the “Indians” play in this text?

Behn’s The Widow Ranter

• Who emerges as the hero/heroine of this tale?
• How would you define the racial/national identity the hero/heroine?
• How does gender impact that identity?
• Does this text promote the virtues of The New World or argue for the values of the Old?
• What constitutes “Englishness” in this play? What constitutes “Americanness”? How are those terms defined in this play? What values are associated with each?
• What role do the “Indians” play in this text?

Southerne’s Oroonoko

• Who emerges as the hero/heroine of this text?
• How would you define the racial/national identity the hero/heroine?
• How does gender impact that identity?
• Does this text promote the virtues of The New World or argue for the values of the Old?
• What constitutes “Englishness” in this play? What constitutes “Americanness”? How are those terms defined in this play?
• What role do the “Indians” play in this text?


Assignment #2: Collaborative Research Component

[Instructor note: Students worked in 5 groups of 8 students, with 4 US and 4 UK students in each group. Student research groups shared information and discoveries via email and WebCT, building the webpages on WebCT at Wittenberg and copied at Exeter. Specific assessment criteria for the research material at both institutions included the level of analysis, breadth of research sources, appropriate use and combination of research, presentational standards.]

Research Task.
We would like you to develop a website with text and images to help share your discoveries with your fellow students. Each group should plan to develop no more than four web pages of material.

Your pages should be thoughtful, thought-provoking and for a scholarly audience, not just nice to look at. They must by driven by the research questions you are asking, although you are trying to make the material accessible and interesting for your fellows students. You should fully reference your extensive use of primary and secondary sources in this material. You will need to think about appropriate links to other material on the web.

This research material will help to influence your staging of the scene and you will use this material in your rehearsal process.

Each group will be given a topic to develop web material for. Your material must engage with the following research questions:

a) Slavery:
What are the backgrounds to Oroonoko?
Investigate this aspect to the slave trade and its economics.
What were the contemporary debates about slavery in UK? In America?
Was the novel or the play abolitionist in its first incarnation?
What other representations of slavery exist on the Restoration stage? Who played slave roles?
What does the rhetoric of slavery imply in plays of the period?

b) Trade, the economy and the New World colonies
How did trading relationships between countries work at this time?
Why were the New World colonies settled?
How was trade regarded in Britain at this time? How were merchants and traders staged?
What was happening in the British economy? And in the Virginian economy?
Is there such a thing as Americanness during this period?

c) New World colonies
Who are the ‘Indians’ in the plays and the novel?
What can we learn about the conditions of native peoples during this period?
How were the ‘Indians’ represented in European writing and science?
How were these individuals represented on stage in other plays?
What do we know about maps, myths and imaginary landscapes of the colonies?

d) Government and Rebels
What was the Widow Ranter based on?
What representations of government – good and bad – appear in these texts?
How were the colonies governed? How was Britain governed at this time?
What happens when these representations of government are staged? What possibilities for subversion or complexity exist?

e) Women and Society
What economic power did women wield during this period?
How involved in colonial expansion were women?
To what extent were women involved in government during this period?
What types of femininity were staged/ appeared in texts during this period?
What difference did ‘race’ or national identity make to the representation of women on stage?
What does the cross dressing in these works reveal about understandings of the feminine and masculine?


Assignment #3: Performance Component:

[Instructor note: Working in 3 groups of 6 performers (US). Working in 4 groups of 5 performers (UK)]

The logistics:
Each group selects one or two scenes from one or both of these plays, Behn’s The Widow Ranter and Southerne’s Oroonoko.

In selecting a scene(s), chose one(s) that you find rich and/or problematic. For example:
• As both plays include a disorienting mixture of tragic and comic elements, you might one to choose one comic scene and one tragic scene that reflect/ comment on one another. These scenes could be from the same play or from both.
• As both plays include highly similar plot elements (e.g., the death of the noble hero and heroine, the comic plotting of the female protagonist, etc.), you may one to chose similar scenes from each work.
• You may also want to focus on only one of these plays and its staging of race. Choose a scene that raises interesting issues both from a textual point of view and in its staging.
• You may also want to focus on one of these plays and its staging of nationality. Choose a scene that raises interesting issues both from a textual point of view and in its staging.

Once you have selected a scene or scenes, you need to:
• Assign parts
• Discuss your interpretation of the scene
• Rehearse the scene
• Keep a journal of your deliberative process

Bear in mind (especially the US group) that what is important in this assignment is not the performance itself (its skill and technical merits), but rather the deliberative and interpretative process required to stage such a performance. Also, bear in mind that your audience will be your British or American counterparts: in other words, the US class will necessarily perform “Englishness” for an English audience and the UK class will necessarily perform “Americanness” for its US audience regardless of the scene selected.

Once your group has rehearsed and prepared the scene, the class will:
• Perform and tape the scene
• View with its British or American counterparts the scenes via internet link
• Discuss in a “net meeting” the performances and the interpretative gestures they represent

The Rationale

Why perform these scenes?
• By performing the scene, you can arrive at a richer understanding of late 17th-century stagecraft.
• By performing the scene, you can arrive at a deeper or “lived” sense of what it would mean to perform a late 17th-century “self.”
• By performing the scene, you can investigate what feels “staged” about that “self” and what feels “authentic.” In other words, it can allow you to reflect on your own historical sense of self and how that contrasts with the late 17th-century notion.

Why perform these scenes to this particular audience?
• Performing these scenes to an audience defined in the plays themselves as a racial or national “other” emphasizes the significance of how these roles are interpreted.
• Performing the scenes to a UK or US audience suggests the possibility of a continuing contrast in national perspective and encourages you to view your own interpretation as partially determined by a sense of national identity or racial identity.
• Performing these scenes to this transatlantic audience promises a rich and complex discussion. Both plays complicate national and racial identity; discussing the performance of those complex identities across the Atlantic makes concrete abstract questions of identity and their effect on political process, national agency and racial equity.


9. Syllabi

The two courses differed in theme, content, discipline (Drama vs. English), and in the level of student expected to enroll (first-year vs. upper level). They shared a five-week unit entitled “Transaltantic Connections.” Following is the description of that course unit from the Exeter class and the full syllabus of the Wittenberg class, with the shared course component in bold.

Exeter Course Unit:

UK Syllabus
DRA1008 - Research and Performance
Week 1
Acting English: Social webs and London life

William Wycherley, The Country Wife (1675)
George Etherege, The Man of Mode (1676)
Aphra Behn, The Rover (1677)

In three groups explore what this play suggests about English behaviour. How were these English types expressed physically?
What difference does gender make?

What does your play indicate about attitudes to other nations – how are these other types embodied?

What are the problems of these national representation for staging these plays today?

TransAtlantic Connections: Email introductions

Week 2
Double Acts: Performers and Celebrity
Tasks for the week
1. Presentations on
Charles Hart and Nell Gwyn,
Elizabeth Barry and Anne Bracegirdle,
Robert Wilks and Anne Oldfield.

2. Actor/audience relationships – work on prologues and epilogues.
Did audiences imagine an actor as having a stable identity?

3. Work on double act scenes (use of asides/ celebrity personas)
Did audiences imaging characters were stable, interiorised selves? What are the dangers or possibilities of acting styles during this period?

4. Read Widow Ranter.
Email discussion extends questions on our understandings of gender, nationality and race in the performance of identity.

TransAtlantic Connections: Email discussion topic – Performing a Self.

Week 3
Imperialism and trade
Tasks for the week
1. In small research groups begin your research on imperialism.
What do you think imperialism is? Do you recognise anything happening today as imperialist?

2. Each group reads one of the following:
John Dryden, Amboyna (1672)
Thomas Dilke, The City Lady (1696)
Vanbrugh, The Confederacy (1705)

Scene studies on representation of traders and trading.

3. All groups read Behn’s Oroonoko and Southerne’s Oroonoko.

TransAtlantic Connections: Email discussion on plays.
Joint research project assigned.

Week 4
Staging imperialism : London playhouses at the centre of trading webs.
Tasks for the week

1. All groups read the introductory chapter of Roxann Wheeler's The Complexion of Race.
Group A reads and presents argument based on "Arms and the Woman: Narrative, Imperialism, and Virgilian Memoria in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko", Joseph Ortiz, Studies in the Novel, Summer 2002
Group B reads and presents argument based on “A Degenerate Race: English Barbarism in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko and The Widow Ranter," Elliot Visconti, ELH, 2002
2. Scene experiments on representing non-English figures on stage.
How was race represented on stage – character types?
What are the problems with those representations?
How was race physically represented on stage – original staging?
What strategies might you use in staging these scenes today?

TransAtlantic Project: Research project with US peers.
Preparation and rehearsal of scene.

Week 5

TransAtlantic Project: Research project with US peers.

Preparation and rehearsal of scene.
Week 6
Englishness and the New World
Performances of scenes from The Widow Ranter and Oroonoko. Research material mounted on web.

EASTER VACATION
After Easter students continued with writing and staging an adaptation of The Tempest, in the light of the representational issues, themes and problems raised by part one of the module.


Wittenberg Course (Shared course component is in bold):
The Theater of the Eighteenth Century:
Performing the Self

COURSE CONTENT AND DESIGN:

The course title uses the term “theatre” intentionally as this course is interested in not just the plays of the long 18th century, but also the broader drama of this historical period—one largely played out through the tropes of role playing, masquerade, and spectatorship. That is why our reading list will include more than the plays of the period, but also some poetry, its most important novel, a select set of promotional pieces, and even the presumably “private” musing of two well-known journal-ists of the period. In examining these works, we will employ some of the insights of performance theory, a contemporary approach to literature that returns to the 18th-century emphasis on role playing. Indeed, one could say that the “audience” of the 18th century learned to perform a self. It is that self which we now take to be wholly natural, having “forgotten” its theatrical origins. Our readings then are intended to remind us of its dramatic past.

The course will organize itself along two trajectories. One is this greater narrative of a shift from a masked self to an interiorized self. This will be shown through the movement from the great Restoration farces where everything is masquerade to the autobiographical works of the late 18th century where our own concept of a “true” self emerges. Most pointedly, it will be played out through our serial reading of Clarissa, the text that inaugurates the interior self, and which foregrounds an epic battle between the highly theatrical rake Lovelace and the just as dramatic but far more interior Clarissa.

It will also be organized around the categories of gender and race. To speak of these terms has now become somewhat cliché, but in the 18th century they were remarkably fresh. One could argue that the early modern period is when these terms first became visible (and the theater was one of the prime venues for that emergence.) To make these terms fresh again, our class will re-enact (quite literally) some of the tensions and cross-currents surrounding these issues both in England and in the New World. We will be conducting an e-mail exchange with a first-year drama class at the University of Exeter, UK. We will also be collaborating on a research project to be mounted on the web. Most significantly, each class will be selecting scenes, videotaping them, and then watching these performances together through a Net meeting and then discussing them.


Our texts for this transatlantic collaboration will be Aphra Behn=s play The Widow Ranter, her novel Oroonoko, and Thomas Southerne=s adaption of her novel for the stage, also entitled Oroonoko. Each of these works explores the tensions surrounding imperialism and its effects for British identity. But even more for our purposes, through naming this different and new world, she also gave shape to our own American identities. What makes Behn=s treatment of these common concerns during this period especially telling and significant for this course is that she can only name this “racial other” through the mechanisms of gender. She must “feminize” the New World in order to justify the masculine expansion of the old; yet in feminizing the new world she almost inadvertently becomes it advocate, and hence destabilized her own loyalties as well as that of her audience.

Moreover, as we play these roles, and perform them for “our others,” we are likely to find our identities, if not de-stablized, at least complicated. It is by performing these Aselves@ of the 18th century that I hope we will come to a better understanding of not only that period, but our own contemporary identities as well.

Syllabus
Week I Introduction
Performance Anxiety

Readings in Poetry: Wilmot, AThe Imperfect Enjoyment,@ Behn, ATo the Fair Clarinda,@ Swift, >The Lady=s Dressing Room,@ AA Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed,@ (handout) Montagu, AThe Reasons that Induced Dr. Swift@ in Norton Anthology of Literature I

and theory: Susan Sontag, ANotes on Camp@ (275-281)
Michel Foucault, from History of Sexuality I (3, 17-18, 32-35, 44-45)
Judith Butler, ABodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions@

Performing the Self: The Mask of Gender

Week II Continue above discussion and The Country Wife (Acts I-II);Cultural Context: Hobbes, AOn Wit,@ & AOn Power@(458-465) & AThe Theatrical World@ (535-541)

The Country Wife (Acts III-V)
Week III The Man of Mode (Acts I-II): Cultural Context: Richard Steele, “The Spectator, No. 65" (517-519) & AA Defense of Sir Fopling Flutter@ (525-529)

The Man of Mode (Acts III-V)
Week IV The Rover (Acts I-111); Cultural Context: Tis Pity She=s a Whore (video) & AThe Arrival of the Actress@ (541-548)

The Rover (Acts (IV-V)
Week V The Busie Body (Acts I-V)

First installment of Clarissa (1-179): Paper # 1 due

Collaborative Course Component with University of Exeter Class
The World Wide Web: Untangling Transatlantic Connections
in the Work of Aphra Behn

Performing the Self: The Mask of Race

Week VI Transatlantic Connections: Discussion of Behn’s Oroonoko; Also read “The Empire of Climate” from The Complexion of Race
E-mail introductions with Exeter class (last 30 minutes of class)

Continue discussion of Oroonoko; Discuss The Widow Ranter (Acts I-II)
Web CT chat room discussions scheduled with Exeter class
Week VII Finish The Widow Ranter (Acts III-V); Also read historical
Sources Bacon’s Rebellion and A True Narrative of the
Late Rebellion

Southerne’s Oroonoko; Discuss scene selections for
performance assignment
Web CT chat room discussions scheduled with Exeter class
Week VIII Transatlantic Project: Research project with UK peers
Preparation and rehearsal of scene

Continue above; Web CT sessions with Exeter research
groups
Spring Break
Week IX Videotaping of scenes from Widow Ranter and Southerne’s
Oroonoko

Net Meeting with Exeter class; Discussion of performances Research mounted on the web the following week
Week X The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (Vol. I)

Equiano (Volume II); joint research project mounted on web

The Self Performed: Interior Monologues

Week XI Second installment of Clarissa (179-355)

Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber (Chapters -III); Charke A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke (5-37) & (45-73)
Week XII Boswell, London Journal (39-166)

Burney, The Famous Miss Burney (27-73)
Week XIII School for Scandal (Acts I-V)

Continue above discussion
Week XIV Workshop final paper

A Post Mortem: The Death of Theater,
The Birth of the ”Novel” Self

Week XV Final installment of Clarissa (355-516)
Final day


10. Bibliography

Primary Texts:

Andrews, Charles. Ed. Narratives of the Insurrections 1675-1690. New York: C.
Scribner’s Sons, 1915.
Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. Ed. Joanna Lipking. New York: Norton, 1997.
Behn, Aphra. The Widow Ranter. The Works of Aphra Behn. Ed. Janet Todd.
7 vols. Columbus: Ohio State University, 1992.
Finestone, Harry. Ed. Bacon’s Rebellion: The Contemporary News Sheets. Charlotte:
University of Virginia Press, 1956.
Krise, Thomas. Ed. Caribbeana: An Anthology of English Literature of the West Indies,
1657-1777. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Southerne, Thomas. Oroonoko. Ed. Maximillian Novak and David Rodes. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Pres, 1976.

Secondary Texts:

Bridges, Liz. “‘We Were Somebody in England’: Identity, Gender, and Status in
The Widdow Ranter.” Aphra Behn (1640-1689): Identity, Alterity, Ambiguity. Eds.
Mary Ann O’Donnell, Bernard Dhuicq, and Guyonne Leduc. Paris: L’Harmattan,
2000.
Brown, Laura. :”The Romance of Empire: Oroonoko and the Trade in Slaves.” Early
Women Writers: 1600-1720. Ed. Anita Pacheco. New York: Longman, 1998.
Ferguson, Margaret. “News from the New World: Miscegenous Romance in Aphra
Behn’s Oroonoko and The Widow Ranter.” The Production of English Renaissance
Culture. Eds. David Miller, Sharon O’Dair, and Harold Weber. Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 1994.
Frohock, Richard. “Violence and Awe: The Foundations of Government in Aphra Behn’s
New World Settings.” Women at Sea: Travel Writing and the Margins of Caribbean
Discourse. Eds. Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo. New York:
Palgrave, 2001.
Gallagher, Catharine. “Oroonoko’s Blackness.” Aphra Behn Studies. Ed. Janet Todd.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Gautier, Gary. “Slavery and the Fashioning of Race in Oroonoko, Robinson Crusoe, and
Equiano’s Life.” Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 42 (Summer):
161-79.
Hendricks, Margo. “Civility, Barbarism, and Aphra Behn’s The Widdow Ranter.” Women
“Race,” and Writing in the Early Modern Period. Eds. Margo Hendricks and
Patricia Parker. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Hill, Errol. The Jamaican Stage, 1655-1900: Profile of a Colonial Literature. Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press, 1992.
Hughes, Derek. The Theater of Aphra Behn. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
Hutner, Heidi. Colonial Women: Race and Culture in Stuart Drama. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001.
Kaul, Suvir. “Reading Literary Symptoms: Colonial Pathologies and the Oroonoko
Fictions of Behn, Southerne, and Hawkesworth.” Eighteenth-Century Life 18 (1994):
80-96.
Lipking, Joanna. “Confusing Matters: Searching the Backgrounds of Oroonoko. Aphra
Behn Studies. Ed. Janet Todd. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1996.
MacDonald, Joyce. “Race, Women, and the Sentimental in Thomas Southerne’s
Oroonoko.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 40 (1998): 555-70.
Nussbaum, Felicity. The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race, and Gender in
the Long Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Orr, Bridget. Empire on the English Stage, 1660-1714. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2001.
Ortiz, Joseph. “Arms and the Woman: Narrative, Imperialism, and Virgilian Memoria
in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.” Studies in the Novel 34 (2002): 119-40.
Pender, Patricia. “Competing Conceptions: Rhetorics of Representation in Aphra Behn’s
Oroonoko.” Women’s Writing 8 (2001): 457-71.
Rivero, Albert. “Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and the ‘Blank Spaces’ of Colonial Fictions.”
SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900 39 (Summer): 443-62.
Rosenthal, Laura. “Owning Oroonoko: Behn, Southerne, and the Contingencies of
Property. Renaissance Drama 23 (1992): 25-38.
Ross, Shannon. “The Widdow Ranter: Old World, New World: Exploring an Era’s
Authority Paradigms.” Aphra Behn (1640-1689): Identity, Alterity, Ambiguity. Eds.
Mary Ann O’Donnell, Bernard Dhuicq, and Guyonne Leduc. Paris: L’Harmattan,
2000.
Rubik, Margaret. “Estranging the Familiar, Familiarizing the Strange: Self and Other in
Oroonoko and The Widdow Ranter. Identity, Alterity, Ambiguity. Eds.
Mary Ann O’Donnell, Bernard Dhuicq, and Guyonne Leduc. Paris: L’Harmattan,
2000.
Spencer, Jane. “Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko and Women’s Literary Authority.” Early
Women Writers: 1600-1720. Ed. Anita Pacheco. New York: Longman, 1998.
Sussman, Charlotte. “The Other Problem with Women: Reproduction and Slave
Culture in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko.” Rereading Aphra Behn: History, Theory,
and Criticism. Ed. Heidi Hutner. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1993.
Todd, Janet. “A Spectacular Death: History and Story in The Widow Ranter.” Aphra
Behn: New Casebooks. Ed. Janet Todd. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
Velissariou, Aspasia. “’Tis Pity That When Laws Are Faulty They Should Not Be
Mended or Abolisht’: Authority, Legitimation, and Honor in Aphra Behn’s The
Widdow Ranter. “Papers on Language and Literature 38 (2002):137-66.
Vermillion, Mary. “Buried Heroism: Critiques of Female Authorship in Southerne’s
Adaptation of Behn’s Oroonoko.” Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture,
1660-1700 16 (1992): 28-37.
Viconsi, Eliott. “A Degenerate Race: English Barbarism in Aphra Behn’s Orronoko and
The Widow Ranter. ELH 69:3 (2002): 673-701.
Wheeler, Roxann. The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-
British Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.