Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Aphra Behn may or may not have been married. Since English law in the 1600’s made life much easier for widows than for single women who insisted on traveling around alone, Behn may have simply spent some time with Mr. Behn and then moved on. In any case, we are certain that she was "a bit of a tart," as they used to say, and a spy for a while during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. And when forced into prison for debt, she simply rose to the occasion and became the first known English woman to earn her living by writing. Her plays and novels put her in Westminster Abbey with the other famous English writers, but her poems about sexual matters -- both male and female -- put her on the historical map as an in-your-face woman.