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The Cambridge Companion to Aphra Behn


  • 1 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.58 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 822/.4
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR3317.Z5 C36 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Behn, Aphra,--1640-1689--Criticism and interpretation--Handbooks, manuals, etc
    • Women and literature--England--History--17th century--Handbooks, manuals, etc

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521820196 | ISBN-10: 0521820197)

Traditionally known as the first professional woman writer in English, Aphra Behn has now emerged as one of the major figures of the Restoration. She provided more plays for the stage than any other author and greatly influenced the development of the novel with her ground-breaking fiction, especially Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister and Oroonoko, the first English novel set in America. Behn's work straddles the genres: beside drama and fiction, she also excelled in poetry and she made several important translations from French libertine and scientific works. This Companion discusses and introduces her writings in all these fields and provides the critical tools with which to judge their aesthetic and historical importance. It also includes a full bibliography, a detailed chronology and a description of the known facts of her life. The Companion will be an essential tool for the study of this increasingly important writer and thinker.

• The most comprehensive companion for students and scholars on the first British woman to earn her living as a creative writer • Covers all of Behn's work in drama, poetry, fiction and prose, including chapters on Oroonoko and The Rover • Sets Behn in her historical context with a chapter on the 17th century slave trade and the colonial world


Chronology Mary Ann O'Donnell; 1. Aphra Behn: the documentary record Mary Ann O'Donnell; 2. Behn, women and society Susan Staves; 3. Aphra Behn and the Restoration theatre Derek Hughes; 4. The political poetry of Aphra Behn Melinda S. Zook; 5. Behn's dramatic response to Restoration politics Susan J. Owen; 6. Tragedy and tragicomedy Janet Todd and Derek Hughes; 7. Behn and the unstable traditions of social comedy Robert Markley; 8. The Cavalier myth in The Rover Helen M. Burke; 9. 'The Story of the heart': Love-Letters between a Nobleman and his Sister Ros Ballaster; 10. Oroonoko: reception, ideology, and narrative strategy Laura J. Rosenthal; 11. 'Others', slaves and colonists in Oroonoko Joanna Lipking; 12. The short fiction (excluding Oroonoko) Jacqueline Pearson; 13. Pastoral and Lyric: Astrea in Arcadia Jessica Munns; 14. Aphra Behn's French translations Line Cottegnies; Further reading.


'Taken as a group, the essays here assembled make for one of the best volumes to emanate from the excellent Cambridge Companions to Literature series.' Choice

'… illuminating … These essays present Aphra Benn's artistic choices as determined by genre, political contingency and an acute sensitivity to theatrical success, as much as by proto-feminism.' The Times Literary Supplement

'In short, the Companion offers in a brilliantly condensed form the recent debate on Aphra Behn with valuable introductions to general aspects of her work, e.g. on pastoral or social comedy, and is this indispensable to her students when reading Aphra Behn – in all her diversity and ambiguity.' Cornelia Wilde, Buchhesprechungen


Mary Ann O'Donnell, Susan Staves, Derek Hughes, Melinda S. Zook, Susan J. Owen, Janet Todd, Robert Markley, Helen M. Burke, Ros Ballaster, Laura J. Rosenthal, Joanna Lipking, Jacqueline Pearson, Jessica Munns, Line Cottegnies

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