Research Paper : Aphra Behn

1320 Words Dec 15th, 2016 6 Pages
Maia Davis
English 2302

Research Paper: Aphra Behn

In a time when very few authors - let alone female authors - could support themselves through their craft, Aphra Behn was a well known and highly regarded writer in London. She wrote many plays for the London stage, penned poetry, and wrote what some consider the first English novel (though others consider it a novella or a somewhat long short story). Much of her work decries the unequal treatment of women in her era, and she suffered the consequences of these claims by enduring harsh criticism and even arrest.
Aphra Behn, one of the most influential dramatists of the late seventeenth century, was also a celebrated poet and novelist. Her contemporary reputation was founded primarily on her "scandalous" plays, which she claimed would not have been criticized for impropriety had a man written them. Behn 's assertion of her unique role in English literary history is confirmed not only by the extraordinary circumstances of her writings, but by those of her life history as well.
Not much is known about the early life of Aphra Behn; one scholar describes the author as having "a lethal combination of obscurity, secrecy and staginess, which makes her an uneasy fit for any narrative, speculative or factual” (Todd 1). Best estimates place Behn 's birth in Kent, on December 14th of 1640. She was born to Elizabeth Denham and Bartholomew Johnson; it is believed that her father was a barber. Because her mother cared for…

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