Course overview

Join tutor Michael Long on this fascinating one-off session, presented as part of Women's month, looking at the life of Aphra Behn. Aphra Behn was a playwright, poet, translator and royal spy. She was a woman in a world of men, a staunch Royalist, a spy, and condemned as a scarlet woman with loose morals. She was also the first woman in England to identify herself as a professional writer. She wrote to suit the occasion, and she wrote to make money. This is a brief look at her life and times rather than a focus on her literary achievements.

Course description

The story of Aphra Behn reads like a mystery novel. She was a playwright, novelist, poet, and spy. She lived and died in some of the most tumultuous times in English history. When she was born in the 1640’s Charles I was King. She lived through the period of his overthrow, the Commonwealth of Oliver Cromwell, and came to prominence during the reign of Charles II.

She was the first woman to earn her living from writing. It is believed that she wrote at least nineteen plays, works of fiction, poetry, and translations of others’ work. The government of Charles II deployed her as a spy.

Yet, despite this, Aphra Behn is an enigma. Little is known about her as she kept herself very private and, it appears, lived a number of different lives.

This is an introduction to the life of Aphra Behn that focuses on the events that shaped her life and her place in it. It isn’t a literary critique of her works. " Sound interesting? Sign up now as courses with this tutor, fill up fast.

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