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(10 July 1640 – 16 April 1689 / Wye, England)

Aphra Behn
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Aphra Behn was a prolific dramatist of the English Restoration and was one of the first English professional female writers. Her writing contributed to the amatory fiction genre of British literature.

Early Life

One of the first English women to earn her livelihood by authorship, Behn's life is difficult to unravel and relate. Information regarding her, especially her early life, is scant, but she was almost certainly born in Wye, near Canterbury, on 10 July 1640 to Bartholomew Johnson, a barber, and Elizabeth Denham. The two were married in 1638 and Aphra, or Eaffry, was baptized on 14 December 1640. Elizabeth Denham was employed as a nurse to the wealthy ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Love in fantastic triumph sat,
    Whilst bleeding hearts around him flowed,''
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British poet, adventurer. Abdelazer (l. 1-2). . . Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, ...
  • ''But 'twas from mine, he took desire,
    Enough to undo the amorous world.''
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British poet, adventurer. Abdelazer (l. 1-2). . . Oxford Book of English Verse, The, 1250-1918. Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, ...
  • ''Love ceases to be a pleasure, when it ceases to be a secret.''
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British playwright, poet. repr. In The Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 6, ed. M. Summers (1915). "Four O'Clock. General Conversation...
  • ''All I ask, is the privilege for my masculine part, the poet in me.... If I must not, because of my sex, have this freedom ... I lay down my quill and you shall hear no more of me.''
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689), British playwright, poet. repr. In The Works of Aphra Behn, vol. 2, ed. M. Summers (1915). The Lucky Chance, preface (1686).
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