The two plots of this tragicomedy concern a black prince sold into slavery and two white women who are husband-hunting in Surinam. Through a discussion of the status of women in the period and of attitudes towards slavery, the editors demonstrated Southerne's complex attempt to explore a parallel between the conditions of slaves and women in contemporary society. They also consider the play in terms of Southerne's high Tory politics and in its own rights as effective drama. Based on a collection of seven editions published within Southerne's life-time, this modern edition includes a section on stage history, with an account of revisions and adaptations, and a detailed comparison between the play and its source in Aphra Behn's novella of the same name.
Maximillian E. Novak and David Stuart Rodes are professors of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.