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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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(p.265) Conclusion
Aphra Behn's Afterlife

Jane Spencer

Oxford University Press

Aphra Behn was a significant influence on 18th-century literature and theatre. As the author of one of the most popular Restoration comedies, she was influential in British theatre, and as the originator of the powerful Oroonoko myth, she had a much wider-reaching impact. In part that impact must be attributed to her deliberate emphasis on ‘my Masculine Part the Poet in me’. Taking on a masculine poetic tradition, she achieved her greatest fame with heroes, the comic Willmore and the tragic Oroonoko, rather than with heroines. Her refusal to be confined to feminine subjects or styles was crucial to her achievement. She entered, took part in, and made her distinct contribution to, traditions of writing that had been predominantly masculine; and she influenced the men, as well as the women, who followed her.

Keywords:   Aphra Behn, literature, theatre, Restoration, comedies, Oroonoko, myth, masculine, heroes, Willmore

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