Our Friend Behn

Aphra Behn is pretty awesome. I read her 1688 novel Oroonoko in my 18th Century Literature class at St. Vincent. It’s hard enough for anyone, male or female, to make a living writing in this day and age. I can’t imagine how hard it was for a woman in the seventeenth century to do so, especially one as pioneering, independent, challenging and thought-provoking as Behn certainly was!

Eleventh Stack

File:Aphra Behn by Peter Lely R.jpg

“One hour of right-down love is worth an age of dully living on.” Aphra Behn

 

Aphra Behn was the first woman to make a living by writing in the English language.  As it is Women’s History Month, and this is a library blog, it’s only right that we salute the saucy and enigmatic mother of English writing.

Top Ten Reasons Why Aphra Behn Pretty Much Rules

  1. She was a spy!  Aphra’s early life is unknown, but we do know that she spent some years in her 20s as a spy for Charles II in Antwerp.  What a great way to inform your writing!  Another great way to inform your writing is to find yourself in debtors’ prison, because you paid your spy expenses out of pocket, on promise from the king that he would repay you.  The king never repaid Aphra, and indeed she was imprisoned.  Way to look out…

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