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Oroonoko and the Mapping of Africa

Klein, Bernhard (2018) Oroonoko and the Mapping of Africa. In: Bastos da Silva, Jorge and Ramalhete Gomes, Miguel, eds. English Literature and the Disciplines of Knowledge, Early Modern to Eighteenth Century: A Trade for Light. Textxet: Studies in Comparative Literature, 260 . Brill, Amsterdam, pp. 23-55. ISBN 978-90-04-34935-3. E-ISBN 978-90-04-34936-0. (doi:10.1163/9789004349360_004) (KAR id:64659)

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This essay traces connections between the mapping of Africa and the character of Oroonoko in Aphra Behn’s 1688 novella. Cartography never encompassed the physical environment without reference to the human body, a connection reinforced visually in the 17th century by portraits of local figures placed in the margins of maps. The essay argues that this juxtaposition of land and people affected not only the understanding of human diversity but also the creation of a literary character such as Oroonoko, whose fictional identity is owed to representational conventions developed in the mapmaking workshops of early modern Europe.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1163/9789004349360_004
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Bernhard Klein
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 14:46 UTC
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2020 16:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Klein, Bernhard:
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