Oronoko, traduit de l’Anglois de Madame Behn. Quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequentur. Lucan. Premier [Seconde] partie. [Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave.]. Aphra Behn, Pierre-Antoine de La Place.
Oronoko, traduit de l’Anglois de Madame Behn. Quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequentur. Lucan. Premier [Seconde] partie. [Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave.]
Oronoko, traduit de l’Anglois de Madame Behn. Quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequentur. Lucan. Premier [Seconde] partie. [Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave.]
Oronoko, traduit de l’Anglois de Madame Behn. Quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequentur. Lucan. Premier [Seconde] partie. [Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave.]
First French Edition of the Book of the First Professional Female Writer

Oronoko, traduit de l’Anglois de Madame Behn. Quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequentur. Lucan. Premier [Seconde] partie. [Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave.]

A Amsterdam: Aux dépens de la Compagnie, M.DCC.XLV [1745]. First French edition. Half-titles, and title pages of both volumes printed in red and black. Woodcut device on title page and woodcut headpiece and initial to each part. Two volumes bound into one. In contemporary leather. Panels with gilt supralibros in the center and ruled at edges. The richly gilt spine is raised by five bands and titled with red vignette. Marbled endpapers. Vol. 1.: (4 [blank]), (2 [half title]), (i)–xv, (1 [blank]), (1)–104 p.; Vol. 2.: (4 [half title, title page]), (1)–168 p. Inkblots on 4 leaves and a tiny hole, neither effects on the legibility. Overall in fine condition.

First French edition of the first English novel that presents Black Africans in a benevolent way, by Aphra Behn the foremother of women writers.

“Oroonoko: or, the Royal Slave” the masterpiece and the most successful novel by Aphra Behn (1640?– 1689) the first known professional female writer, who made a living from her writing, published first in London in 1688. “Many critics have said that this is the first novel which champions the emancipation of the coloured races” (MacCarthy) and as such “her sympathy with the oppressed blacks, her deep emotions of pity for outraged humanity, her anger at the cruelties of the slave-driver aye ready with knout or knife, are manifest in every line”. (Summers)

It tells the story of Oronooko, the Prince of Coramantien, who “loved and married the beautiful Imoinda, but by an evil chance the king, his grandfather, demanded her for his harem. Oroonoko, despite great difficulty, succeeded in visiting Imoinda. He is discovered, and, certain that she can mollify the king, Imoinda bids him return to camp. He obeys her, and in his absence the vengeful king sells Imoinda into slavery. Oroonoko believes her dead. Some time later he is lured aboard an English ship and brought as a slave to Surinam. Although he is nominally a slave, his captors and all the people who see him are so impressed by his princely air that he is treated like a free man. By a remarkable coincidence he finds again in Surinam the beautiful and chaste Imoinda, and for a little while they are happy together. But soon it becomes clear that the white rulers of the colony have promised them freedom only to secure their submission. Oroonoko tries to escape. He is overtaken, and he surrenders on the condition that he shall not be punished. He is tortured, but greater far than any bodily suffering is the knowledge that a dreadful fate awaits his unprotected wife. He wins free for a little time; he kills Imoinda so that she shall not fall into the hands of the white men. He is recaptured and put to death by being hacked to pieces.” (MacCarthy)

Despite its later popularity, Oroonoko was not a substantial success until its adaptation to stage by Thomas Southerne in 1695 whose version became more popular than Behn’s throughout the 18th century.

This edition, the first French translation, appeared in 1745, and it also leans on Southerne in many aspects, for instance, make Imoinda white instead of black. The translation was made by Pierre-Antoine de La Place and considered rather an adaption as he “translated freely the first part and rewrote his own version of the ending”. (O’Donell)

Provenance: Supralibros of Charlotte Anne Françoise de Montmorency Luxembourg (1752–1829).

Sabin 4373 (under the title “Oronoko, ou le royale esclave traduit de l’Anglois de Mad. Behn, [par de Laplace])

[Ref.: O’Donnell, M. A.: Aphra Behn: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources. Routledge, 2017; Summers, M.: The works of Aphra Behn. New York: Phaeton Press, 1967. Vol. 5. p. 127.; MacCarthy, B. G.: The Female Pen. Women Writers and Novelists, 1621–1818. New York: New York University Press, 1994. pp. 159–160.]

.

Price: €16,000.00