The Noble Slaves
  • Publication Date: September 26, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554816231 / 1554816238
  • 222 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Broadview eBooks are available on a variety of platforms. To learn more, please visit our eBook information page.

Note on pricing.

Request Exam Copy

Examination copy policy

Availability: Worldwide

The Noble Slaves

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2023
  • ISBN: 9781554816231 / 1554816238
  • 222 pages; 5½" x 8½"

This is the first ever critical edition of Penelope Aubin’s The Noble Slaves, a novel that shows women as both moral exemplars and independent adventurers in foreign lands. Its tales of seduction, imprisonment, and escape engage with contemporary debates about arbitrary authority and slavery—particularly in relation to the lives of women. In one brief and fast-paced novel, Aubin brings together the aristocratic romance and the world of trade with the themes of empire and colonialism. Sometimes assessed as a pious conservative or a popular sensationalist, Aubin used fiction as a vehicle for addressing the deepest moral and political concerns of her time, and The Noble Slaves will allow new readers to understand her importance to the history of the novel.

The appendices to this Broadview Edition include contemporary fiction and historical documents on slavery, piracy, and Orientalism.


“This new edition of The Noble Slaves is very welcome to those of us who teach eighteenth-century fiction, as it makes it possible to offer a richer view of the early development of novels in the period. Penelope Aubin was one of the three most productive novelists of the 1720s, and this edition of her most reprinted novel will help us to give students a fuller picture of that crucial decade in the history of that genre. Students will find the annotations helpful in working through the text, and the introduction and appendices provide important context, both piratical and political, for Aubin’s work.” — Marta Kvande, Texas Tech University

“Penelope Aubin is increasingly recognized as one of the most important women writers and cultural mediators of the early decades of the eighteenth century. Far from the pious lady writer presented in both eighteenth- and nineteenth-century accounts of her writing and life, Aubin was a poet, a translator, a playwright, and a pioneer of the amatory fiction published by her near-contemporaries Eliza Haywood, Delarivier Manley, and Aphra Behn. This timely edition of The Noble Slaves—with its tales of shipwrecks, daring escapes, violence, and adventures—will be welcomed by all those interested in the complicated story of the novel and its influences in this period. With invaluable appendices on slavery, Orientalism, piracy, and romance and translation, a comprehensive introduction, and useful notes highlighting textual variants, Carol Stewart has given us a text with a new relevance for the twenty-first-century reader.” — Gillian Dow, University of Southampton

Penelope Aubin: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Noble Slaves

Appendix A: Slavery

  • 1. From London Journal (9 December 1721)
  • 2. From Anonymous, A Description of the Nature of Slavery among the Moors, and the Cruel Sufferings of those that Fall into it (1721)
  • 3. From Daniel Defoe, A Review of the State of the English Nation (28 January 1710)
  • 4. From [Daniel Defoe,] Reformation of Manners, A Satyr (1702)
  • 5. From [Daniel Defoe,] The Life, Adventures, and Pyracies, of the Famous Captain Singleton (1720)
  • 6. From Anonymous, An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex (1696)
  • 7. From Mary Astell, Preface to Some Reflections Upon Marriage (1706)
  • 8. From “Cato,” London Journal (20 January 1722)
  • 9. From “Cato,” A Discourse of Standing Armies (1722)
  • 10. From William Stephens, A Second Deliverance from Popery and Slavery (1714)

Appendix B: Orientalism

  • 1. From Sir Paul Rycaut, The History of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire (1666)
  • 2. From “Cato,” London Journal (15 April 1721)
  • 3. From Delarivier Manley, Almyna: or, The Arabian Vow. A Tragedy (1707)
  • 4. From Mary Pix, Ibrahim, the Thirteenth Emperour of the Turks: A Tragedy (1696)

Appendix C: Piracy

  • 1. From David Aubin, Letter to Abraham and Henry Aubin (3 June 1720)
  • 2. Penelope Aubin, Deposition of Penelope Aubin to the Board of Trade (20 January 1709)
  • 3. From [Daniel Defoe,] The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner (1719)
  • 4. From [Captain Charles Johnson,] A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates (1724)

Appendix D: Romance and Translation

  • 1. From Penelope Aubin, The Illustrious French Lovers (1726)
    • a. From “Monsieur de Terney’s and Madam de Bernay’s History”
    • b. From “The Constant Lovers: Monsieur de Jussy’s and Madam de Fenoüil’s History”

Works Cited

Carol Stewart is Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.