Mrs. Aphara Behn.Aphara Behn, a celebrated wit and Dramatic writer of the reign of Charles II, was the daughter of Mr. Johnson, a Gentleman of a good family at Canterbury. Her acquaintance with the celebrated American Prince Oroonoko, whose adventures she was related, gave Southerne the first hint for his much admired play. Besides the above, she wrote several Histories and Novels, seventeen different Dramas, and published three Volumes of miscellaneous poetry, together with various translations. Her writings as well as her manner, were tinctured with the licentiousness of the reign in which she lived. She died April 16.th 1689, and was buried in the Cloisters of Westminster Abbey.
A very rare mezzotint with etching. Plate 178 x 121mm. 7 x 4¾". Trimmed to the plate; crease.
Aphra [Aphara] Behn (1640-1689) was a prolific dramatist of the English Restoration and was one of the first English professional female writers. Details of her life are scant, mainly because she was the main source: although there is evidence of her being the daughter of a barber, she suggested that she was daughter of the lieutenant general of Surinam, that country being the setting for one of her most famous works, 'Oroonoko'. Around 1664 she may have married Johan Behn, but he disappeared from her life almost immediately. Having been introduced to court about that time, she was employed as a spy by Charles II in Antwerp during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, seeking out English republican exiles. As a playwright she was mocked for her bawdy themes, including same-sex love between women. However she still earned a grave in Westminster Abbey (described as 'most scandalously but rather appropriately' by Virginia Wolff), although not in Poets' Corner.
[Ref: 20928] £160.00