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516 pages9 hours


Beginning with an account of her first marriage to a man she describes as a “fool,” Roxana tells the tale of her unusual life in a poignant first-person narrative. As her respect for her husband’s intelligence and character decline, Roxana and her husband grow apart, and he eventually abandons her to fend for herself. As a result, Roxana forsakes her virtue and turns to a life of prostitution. At first she does this only to ensure her survival, but as the years pass, Roxana uses her powers of seduction for more selfish gains as she manoeuvres herself into the position of mistress to rich and powerful men, and aspires to fame, fortune, and an ever higher social rank.

Written as if it were the titular character’s autobiography, Roxana emulates author Daniel Defoe’s earlier work, Moll Flanders. However, as his final work, Roxana is much darker, and excludes the penitence and reform of the main character that is seen in Moll Flanders.

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