Aphra Behn

(2074 words)
  • Jennifer Donald (University of Glasgow)

The name Aphra Behn has become synonymous with the renewed interest in early modern women's writing: she is heralded as the first professional English writer, an important predecessor to writers such as Anne Finch, Jane Barker, Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, and an early proponent of women's rights. The accusations of scandal, impropriety and lewdness against both Behn's person and her work, which ensured her obscurity throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century, has ironically served as an attraction to many twentieth-century scholars and students.

Janet Todd's The Secret Life of Aphra Behn (1996) is the most recent biography, although unlike many of her contemporaries Behn has been the subject of a number of …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Donald, Jennifer. "Aphra Behn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 July 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=332, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Articles on Behn's works

  1. Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge
  2. Oroonoko, or the History of the Royal Slave
  3. The Forc'd Marriage
  4. The Rover, or The Banish't Cavaliers