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Aphra Behn
1640 - 1689



The Author

Aphra Behn, playwright, poet and novelist, was perhaps the first professional English woman author. Our knowledge of the details of her life is not reliable. She was probably born in Wye in Kent in 1640. As a child, she may have been adopted by a Johnson family. In her youth, she is believed to have lived in Surinam in South America where her father held a government office from 1658-1663. After her return to England, she married a Dutch merchant named Behn who died in 1665. During the Anglo-Dutch war she became a spy for King Charles II in Antwerp. She returned to England impoverished and was thrown into prison for debt. In 1670, soon after her release, she began to write in order to earn a living. Her works include comedies, one tragedy, political satire, novels, poems, and translations. She died at the age of forty-nine in 1689 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

The Work

The Forced Marriage (1670)
The Dutch Lover (1673)
The Town Fop (1676)
The Rover (1677)
Sir Patient Fancy (1678)
The Second Part of The Rover (1681)
The City Heiress (1682)
Poems upon Several Occasions (1684)
Love Letter Between a Nobleman and his Sister (1684)
The Lucky Chance (1686)
The Emperor of the Moon (1687)
Oroonoko (1688)
The Fairy Jilt (1688)
The Lady's Looking-Glass (1694 posth.)
The Unfortunate Happy Lady: A True History (1696 posth.)


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