Email this review


The life of Aphra Behn, 17th century writer, in fiction form offers a story ahead of its times which has almost a contemporary feel. For Aphra, a passionate, willful child, was convinced that women were equal to men and when the time came, deeply in love, she had few scruples about becoming Will Scot's mistress, since his marriage could not be dissolved. Will, republican and spy, was the means of a liberal education, for with the threat of Charles Stuart's return, they were driven to the continent and eventually to Surinam where Aphra learned the injustives of slavery, went through a slave uprising and deserted Will when their beliefs clashed. Married to Haunce Behn she found his dullness intolerable, turned to Will to take her away. Work as a spy, debtor's prison, her love of the theater and a chance to write bring her to the climax of the opening of her first play. A novel for women this has the commendable qualities of being based on truth (while perhaps not agreeing with what is known of Aphra's life) and a vivid recreation of the period as well as the personality with which it is concerned. An interesting detour in literary history.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1950
Publisher: Doubleday