11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Excellent novel in a very practical edition,
By A Customer
This review is from: Roxana, Or The Fortunate Mistress (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Roxana is the last of Defoe's novels (1724). Its full title contains a whole programme of extraordinary adventures. The romantic, exotic Mademoiselle de Beleau - for Roxana is only a nickname of the heroin - experiences all the aspects of eighteenth century life. After her first bankrupt husband abandoned her penniless with her children to care for, Roxana tries to mend her fortune, and little by little she climbs up the social ladder until she decides to fulfil her supreme ambition: being the mistress of the King... Roxana goes the way from rags to riches several times, thus leading the readers into all sorts of stations in life. The memoirs of this wicked criminal woman who led a life of scandal and hypocrisy, sometimes verging on madness, have a moral purpose - at least Defoe tells us so ; they are a compelling, moving spiritual autobiography, but at the same time it is an occasion to see eighteenth-century life in very striking and vivid colours. This is why I liked "Roxana" very much. It is also interesting because it contains many ideas and is very modern in a way, eg when Roxana appears as a genuine proto-feminist. This edition is very practical to use because the notes are numerous and relevant, but not "intruding". The introduction also provides interesting perspectives on the significance and the originality of "Roxana". This novel is not so wel-known as "Robinson Crusoe" or "Moll Flanders" but it is worth reading for it's really enjoyable.
(5 customer reviews)