The master and the machine: applying the perception of mind and body to Rochester's The Imperfect enjoyment" and Aphra Behn's "The Disappointment" and Oroonoko "

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Elizabeth Ann Mackay


When applying the relationship between the mind and the body to the literature of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, and Aphra Behn, a relationship forms between a master and a machine. In this case, the master is the mind, and the machine is the body. I argue that using this application with Rochester's The Imperfect Enjoyment," and Behn's "The Disappointment" and Oroonoko, relationships between the self and others become more difficult and complex. When connecting the theory of the mind/body split to Rochester, the outer relationship between the mind and body is displayed. However, when moving on to Behn's writings, she corrects the Imperfect Enjoyment genre by turning the relationship inward. In this paper, I also argue that a new reading of the novel Oroonoko should be one which places it within the Imperfect Enjoyment genre. In this novel, Oronooko displays scenes of Imperfect Enjoyment within himself in not being able to kill himself and in his response to his slave master torturing him."


Rochester, John Wilmot, Earl of, 1647-1680 Criticism and interpretation, Behn, Aphra, 1640-1689 Criticism and interpretation, Mind and body in literature, British and Irish Literature, Literature, Earl of Rochester, The Imperfect Enjoyment, Aphra Behn, The Disappointment, Oroonoko

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