By Jane Spencer
Aphra Behn, now changing into famous as a huge recovery determine, is principally major as an early instance of a winning expert girl author. This ebook analyses her reception as a poet, a novelist, and a dramatist, demonstrating her far-reaching effect on eighteenth-century literature and at the formation of the English literary canon.
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Extra info for Aphra Behn's Afterlife
John Dryden invited her to contribute to his collection of Ovid’s Epistles, translated by Several Hands. Published by Jacob Tonson in , this was a prestigious volume, and Behn’s inclusion is an indication that she had gained some recognition among those she liked to think of as her Alexander Radcliffe, The Ramble (London, ), . O’Donnell, Bibliography, . 01 Chapter 0646 30/8/00 12:33 pm Page 25 Pleasure and Poetry: The Behn Myth brother poets. She chose, or was assigned, a female voice, writing a paraphrase of Oenone’s epistle to Paris.
The claim of the memoir is that these are authentic letters: they are headed: ‘Love-Letters to a Gentleman, By Mrs. A. Behn’ (). These letters had already appeared in the edition, and are more likely than the Van Bruin and Vander Albert letters to be genuine. In they were placed after the stories; but in they were treated as an important part of the author’s biography, woven into the introductory ‘Memoirs’. Referred to as Lysander in the text, and Lycidas in the letters, the ‘Gentleman’ has multiple connections with Behn’s poetry.
Her contact is a comic, vain, amorous Dutchman, Vander Albert, from whom she gets valuable information while preserving her own honour by the old comedy ploy of the bed-trick, sending his abandoned love Catalina into his arms instead of herself. When this is discovered and Albert plots revenge by substituting himself in Astrea’s bed for the old woman, Astrea’s companion, Astrea inadvertently foils him by going with a group of her friends to surprise the old woman. The old woman, having aided and abetted Albert’s attempt on Astrea, is dismissed, while Albert himself goes to Amsterdam and suddenly dies of a fever; and Astrea returns home, seeing a strange vision of a marble ‘Pageant’ of pillars and waving streamers on the voyage.