ISBN is

978-0-8135-2455-9 / 9780813524559

The Secret Life of Aphra Behn

by

Publisher:Rutgers University Press

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Aphra Behn (1640?-1689) lived and died with the Restoration, with whose licence and liberty she became synonymous. The first woman to earn her living from writing, she composed at least nineteen plays, fiction, poetry and translations, and travelled as a spy to Holland and possibly to Surinam in South America on behalf of Charles II's government. This definitive biography is the first to draw on Behn's complete works and newly discovered documents in Britain and the Netherlands. Behn is a mass of contradictions: a high Tory who disliked traditional power structures; a powerful, autonomous woman who depended on men's approval; a woman who desired men and women and who became involved in intense political activity, yet craved case. This readable, fast-paced book uncovers Behn's assertive, duplicitous, sensual character and illustrates the openly erotic nature of her writings, her explorations of desire, sexual excitement and disappointment, which later made her a byword for lewdness. It reveals historical sources and court cases behind some of her most famous 'fictions'. As well as recounting Behn's story. The Secret Life of Aphra Behn illuminates the political and social background of the period, the court intrigue, the theatre and its protagonists, London life before and after the Restoration, the Popish Plot, and the Monmouth Rebellion. Behn's relationships with Dryden and Rochester, the Stuart kings, Nell Gwyn, the Duchess of Mazarine and many others make her story a fascinating combination of literature, politics, sex and intrigue.

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