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The Secret Life of Aphra Behn

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Aphra Behn (1640-1689), poet, playwright, novelist, traveller and spy, was the first woman to earn her living as a writer. This biography uses recently-discovered documents in England and the Netherlands to unmask this elusive author whose works include The Rover, The Fair Jilt, Love Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister, and The Forc'd Marriage.
Paperback, 545 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Pandora Press (first published 1997)
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Sherwood Smith
Reread; some good surmises about Behn, given that there is about a half page of real facts known about her.

Todd is upfront about the risks of winnowing out real life details from plays and fiction (I wish more biographers were that cognizant) and given that, she presents a thoughtful case.
Cheyanne
Jun 12, 2015 Cheyanne rated it liked it
Aphra Behn is thought to be the first English woman to make her living as a professional writer, primarily writing for the theatre. Little is known about her life apart from her career, but paradoxically the most interesting parts of this book were the passages in which the author speculates about the missing chapters of Aphra's story. Janet Todd is so well versed in the Restoration period, which was such a colorful era, that the descriptions of Aphra Behn's society are highly entertaining wheth ...more
V.T. Davy
May 26, 2012 V.T. Davy rated it really liked it
Scholarly and entertaining. Todd makes much of very little concrete evidence. Behn was necessarily and habitually a secret woman and so little is really known about her. Even the one portrait that survives of her, may not actually be her. Todd extrapolates, from the fragments of letters available and Behn’s own works, Behn’s character and views. Much of the book explains the political and social history (in some depth) of Behn’s age sets her and her plays in context. It is a good way of demonstr ...more
Crystal Lei
Jan 27, 2008 Crystal Lei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Todd's bio is an extremely informative bio of one of my favourite writers. The writing is clear and concise, but does not get bogged down in unnecessary details.
Catherine
Dec 24, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Terrific biography of the first woman writer to earn a living by her pen.
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Janet Margaret Todd is a Welsh-born academic and a well-respected author of many books on women in literature. Todd was educated at Cambridge University and the University of Florida, where she undertook a doctorate on the poet John Clare.
She is currently the Herbert JC Grierson Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. On 1 September 2008, Professor Todd took up the post of P
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