Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 10 Sep 1998
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"Roxana is possibly Defoe's most fascinating story-teller and this, one of his most intriguing stories."--The Daily Telegraph"Excellent introduction by John Mullan; wisely selected bibliography; full notes."--Robert C. Steensma, University of Utah"The World's Classics edition of 'Roxana' is an attractive volume with a nice picture on the cover, and it seems to have been well edited by John Mullan. I especially like the map of Defoe's London. Unfortunately, I find 'Roxana' far less interesting that 'Robinson Crusoe' and 'Moll Flanders'.--Peter Wirth, University of Mississippi"Excellent introduction by John Mullan."--Mary Paynter, Edgewood College"The text seems beautifully done - striking cover, easy-to-read structure, and helpful intro and scholarship."--W.H. Reames, Jr., Erskine College"A beautiful edition, a helpful introduction."--Archibald G. Coolidge, Jr., University of Iowa"This is an excellent series and one of the best available editions of Defoe's last work. The introduction is extensive and helpful, a great teaching aid. Thank you for keeping this neglected classic available for us."--Carl Kremer, William Woods University"Excellent notes and introductions - more useful in the classroom than any other paperback edition."--Allen Michie, Coastal Carolina University
From the Back Cover
Almost three hundred years after its first publication, Roxana continues to challenge readers, who, though compelled by Roxana's story, are often baffled by her complex relationships to her children, her fortune, and her vices. As one of Daniel Defoe's four major fictions, Roxana has long been understood as central to the history of the novel, and provides readers with Defoe's sharpest and most specific commentary on the complexities of life in seventeenth-century London. This edition offers a range of contemporary documents that will help readers understand the struggles of Roxana's life as series of metaphoric engagements with pressing issues of her time. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For Roxana, `Poverty was my Snare', `the dreadful Argument of wanting Bread'. And, `Poverty is the strongest Incentive; a Temptation against which no Virtue is powerful enough to stand out.'
What saves Roxana from a certain early death is her beauty, her sex-appeal: `In une Deshabile you charm me a thousand times more.'
With her beauty she amasses a fortune. After being a slave (`comply and live, deny and starve'), she is free (`the sweetest of Miss is Liberty'): `that while a Woman was single, that she had then the full Command of what she had, and the full Direction of what she did.'
She abhors the institution of matrimony and prefers to be a Mistress: `A Wife is treated with Indifference, a Mistress with a strong Passion; a Wife is looked upon as but an Upper-Servant, a Mistress is a Sovereign.'
But what ultimately brings Roxana down is religion and its correlative, remorse: `the Sence of Religion, and Duty to God, all Regard to Virtue and Honour given up ... (I was) no more than a Whore.'
Remorse makes her look after her abandoned children, but this quest turns into a tragedy.
Like `Moll Flanders', this more moralist text constitutes a formidable portrait of the `horrid Complication' to be a woman.
Not to be missed.
'Roxana', just as 'Robinson Crusoe' and 'Moll Flanders' is a fictitious autobiography by an 'exceptional' character: we all know what befell Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders has, to say the least, an eventful life with lots of ups and as many downs, and so too Roxana. However, this is pretty much where the similarities end. Whereas for instance Robinson Crusoe could be described as 'rational man' overcoming, against all odds, whatever life (or perhaps that should be 'Nature') can throw at him and striving to better himself (both materially and morally), Roxana is quite the opposite: if anything, in countless instances the story of her life confirms over and over again how much she is led by her emotions (pride, vanity, greed, fear, etc.), knows that she does wrong but is unable to stop herself from doing so ('I sinn'd with Open Eyes'), and - looking back upon it at the (open) end of the book - there's not really a sense that Roxana has 'learned' all that much from her vast experience.
And a vast experience it is!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After many years of wanting to read Daniel Defoe’s Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress, I have just finished this classic and I really enjoyed it. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Andrea Zuvich
A fine early example of an English early novel. It suffers only by comparison with Defoe's wonderful Moll Flanders.Published 20 months ago by Cal Walker