Aphra Behn: The Incomparable Astrea

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Aphra Behn: The Incomparable Astrea

Aphra Behn: The Incomparable Astrea

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A Pindaric on the Death of Our Late Sovereign with an Ancient Prophecy on His Present Majesty (London: Printed by J. Playford for Henry Playford, 1685). In 1915, Montague Summers, an author of scholarly works on the English drama of the 17th century, published a six-volume collection of her work, in hopes of rehabilitating her reputation. Summers was fiercely passionate about the work of Behn and found himself incredibly devoted to the appreciation of 17th century literature. [16] As a monarchist, Behn supported the House of Stuart as a whole, but she had a particular soft spot for one royal: James, Duke of York, King Charles II's brother. In fact, her sympathies may have hidden a secret. James, who later became King James II of England, was a Catholic, further suggesting that Behn held dangerous Catholic beliefs.

Benítez-Rojo, Antonio. "The Caribbean: From a Sea Basin to an Atlantic Network." The Southern Quarterly, vol. 55, no. 4, 2018, pp.196–206. Information regarding Behn's life is scant, especially regarding her early years. This may be due to intentional obscuring on Behn's part. One version of Behn's life tells that she was born to a barber named John Amis and his wife Amy; she is occasionally referred to as Aphra Amis Behn. [7] Another story has Behn born to a couple named Cooper. [7] The Histories and Novels of the Late Ingenious Mrs. Behn (1696) states that Behn was born to Bartholomew Johnson, a barber, and Elizabeth Denham, a wet-nurse. [7] [8] Colonel Thomas Colepeper, the only person who claimed to have known her as a child, wrote in Adversaria that she was born at " Sturry or Canterbury" [b] to a Mr Johnson and that she had a sister named Frances. [3] Another contemporary, Anne Finch, wrote that Behn was born in Wye in Kent, the "Daughter to a Barber". [3] In some accounts the profile of her father fits Eaffrey Johnson. [3] Although not much is known about her early childhood, one of her biographers, Janet Todd, believes that the common religious upbringing at the time could have heavily influenced much of her work. She argued that, throughout Behn's writings, her experiences in church were not of religious fervour, but instead chances for her to explore her sexual desires, desires that will later be shown through her plays. In one of her last plays she writes, "I have been at the Chapel; and seen so many Beaus, such a Number of Plumeys, I cou'd not tell which I shou'd look on the most...". [9] Marshall, Alan. "Memorialls for Mrs Affora": Aphra Behn and the Restoration Intelligence World." Women's Writing: The Elizabethan to Victorian Period, vol. 22, no. 1, 2015, pp. 13–33. I entertain'd him [Oroonoko] with the Lives of the Romans, and great Men, which charm'd him to my Company; and her [Imoinda] , with teaching her all the pretty Works that I was Mistress of; and telling her Stories of Nuns..."Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference The criticism of Behn's poetry focuses on the themes of gender, sexuality, femininity, pleasure, and love. A feminist critique tends to focus on Behn's inclusion of female pleasure and sexuality in her poetry, which was a radical concept at the time she was writing. Like her contemporary male libertines, she wrote freely about sex. In the infamous poem " The Disappointment" she wrote a comic account of male impotence from a woman's perspective. [22] Critics Lisa Zeitz and Peter Thoms contend that the poem "playfully and wittily questions conventional gender roles and the structures of oppression which they support". [39] One critic, Alison Conway, views Behn as instrumental to the formation of modern thought around the female gender and sexuality: "Behn wrote about these subjects before the technologies of sexuality we now associate were in place, which is, in part, why she proves so hard to situate in the trajectories most familiar to us". [40] Virginia Woolf wrote, in A Room of One's Own: Not one to be subtle, Behn carried over her spy name into her writing. Her literary circles knew her as “The Incomparable Astrea,” which was one of the operative names she used as a foreign spy. Fontenelle: A Discovery of New Worlds (1688). Translation of Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1688) [56]

A Pindaric Poem on the Happy Coronation of His Most Sacred Majesty James II and His Illustrious Consort Queen Mary (London: Printed by J. Playford for Henry Playford, 1685). Behn's poems express anticonventional attitudes about other topics as well. She makes a strong antiwar statement in "Song: When Jemmy first began to Love," concluding with the question of what is to become of the woman left behind. In "To Mr. Creech (under the Name of Daphnis on his Excellent Translation of Lucretius)," she praises the translator for making accessible to unlearned women a work originally in Latin. As a member of the female class, which is denied education in the classics, she would like, she says, to express her admiration to him in an acceptable, manly fashion. Because she is a woman, however, her response to his translation is not mere admiration, but a fiery adoration, since women are thereby advanced to knowledge from ignorance. She describes the state of women as her own: "Till now, I curst my Birth, my Education, / And more the scanted Customes of the Nation: / Permitting not the Female Sex to tread, / The mighty Paths of Learned Heroes dead." The History of Oracles and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests, Behn's translation of Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle's French adaptation of A. van Dale's De oraculis ethnicorum (London, 1688).

32. Someone Sounds Jealous…

Paul Tallement: Lycidus; or, the Lover in Fashion (1688), published with A Miscellany of New Poems by Several Hands. Translation of Le Second voyage de l'isle d'amour. [46] Lizbeth Goodman; W.R. Owens (2013). Shakespeare, Aphra Behn and the Canon. Routledge. p.141. ISBN 978-1135636289. Behn’s final literary work was another translation: the final volume in Six Books of Plants by Abraham Cowley. But don’t judge a book by its title: the poetry collection contains the earliest recorded utterance of “coca” in the English language. Iconic. Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister (1684–1687), published anonymously in three parts, attribution disputed [33]



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