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Aphra Behn's Afterlife$
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Jane Spencer

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198184942

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184942.001.0001

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Her Wit, without Her Shame: Women Writing after Behn

Her Wit, without Her Shame: Women Writing after Behn

(p.143) 4 Her Wit, without Her Shame: Women Writing after Behn
Aphra Behn's Afterlife

Jane Spencer

Oxford University Press

The evidence of 18th-century women's literary history shows many different ways of responding to Aphra Behn. This chapter has divided consideration of Behn's effect on her female successors into three sections. The first deals with the 1690s, when the recently deceased Astrea is an inescapable point of reference. In the second, the chapter focuses on the relations between Behn and a number of individual writers in the first half of the 18th century, arguing that for Susanna Centlivre and Delarivier Manley, Behn was most significant as a role-model for professional writing, while Jane Barker is influenced in a more complex and troubled way by Behn's work. The third section considers women writers' use of Behn in the later 18th century. Historical distance and an established female writing role allowed for a new detachment in the attitudes of women writers to her, but Hannah Cowley's adaptation from Behn showed that she could still be a significant influence.

Keywords:   Aphra Behn, Astre, writers, Susanna Centlivre, Delarivier Manley, Jane Barker, women, female, writing, Hannah Cowley

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