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Aphra Behn (New Casebooks) Hardcover – 1999

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Janet Todd is Professor of English Literature at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Casebooks
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave MacM (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333720202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333720202
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,874,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Janet Todd's edition of New Casebooks: Aphra Behn contains a series of professional essays surrounding various topics which concern Aphra Behn. Aphra Behn was a controversial person who, depending on one's circle, may have been praised or condemned for her vulgar plays and inferior prose.
Aphra Behn has often been criticized throughout history not only for the validity of her literary merit but also for her own moral standpoints. Whether her voice is accepted in the canon is dependent on the various generations and scholars. Janet Todd, the editor of New Casebooks: Aphra Behn and author of the preface, distinctly mentions how "the Victorian disapproval of her had given her some champions such as John Pearson, who had published an anthology of favourable comment on her and, although she was not rescued as a playwright, she was assuming a new role as a fictionist, seen now as important in the development of the novel" (4).
This collection consists of essays by authors such as Catherine Gallagher, Elin Diamond, Susan J. Owen, and Janet Todd. What I found especially interesting were the articles that discussed Behn's erotic style. When a reader has only experienced Oroonoko, Behn's most well known text, it is hard to imagine the author as being erotic or overly sexual; however, this is not the case in any manner. The first article in this collection is titled "Who was that Masked Woman? The Prostitute and the Playwright in the Comedies of Aphra Behn." This article was especially interesting because it points out how Aphra Behn was one of the first women who became capable of living by her pen. A contrasting factor is that her writing style was also seen as very masculine and may have been the undoing of her femininity.
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