Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn was the first woman to make her living by writing.  The daughter of a Canterbury barber, she had (probably) travelled to South America, served as a spy in the Low Countries and narrowly escaped imprisonment for debt by the time her plays began to be performed.

Restoration London was a ferocious world, and within it, theatre even more so.  But these post civil war decades were a time when at least some women could have an independent voice.

 In a twenty-year career at least nineteen of Behn’s plays were staged, and she also wrote poetry, novels and translations.  Some of her work is highly political in tone, and all of it is very evidently written by an informed and well connected Londoner

Click on Aphra’s picture opposite to hear more about her story.

For some years after Behn’s death her plays continued to be staged.  But times changed and her work began to be regarded as improper. All through the Victorian age she, was virtually unmentionable. 

Even now Aphra Behn’s name is less well known than it deserves.

Click on on the picture opposite to hear more about Aphra Behn’s legacy.

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Clio’s Company (registered charity no. 1101853) is grateful for generous financial support for this project from The Portal Trust