Aphra Behn Books In Order | Update 02/2024

Aphra Behn was an English playwright, poet, and novelist known for her exploration of themes such as power, gender, and love. She was the first woman to earn a living through writing in English and is considered a pioneering feminist writer. Behn wrote a total of 19 plays, numerous poems, and one novel during her lifetime. Her work often challenged societal norms and continues to be studied and celebrated for its bold and provocative themes.

Aphra Behn Books in Order

  1. Oroonoko
  2. The Rover
  3. Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works
  4. Oroonoko and Other Writings
  5. The Rover and Other Plays
  6. The History Of The Nun Or The Fair Vow Breaker
  7. The Fair Jilt Or Tarquin And Miranda
  8. Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister
  9. The Widdow Ranter Or The History Of Bacon In Virginia
  10. The Lucky Chance

Summary of Aphra Behn Books in Order


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The Rover

“The Rover” by Aphra Behn is a seminal work in the restoration comedy genre. Set in Naples during the Carnival season, the play follows a group of English exiles as they navigate love, passion, and deception. The central character, Willmore, is a charming but unscrupulous womanizer who becomes entangled in a complex web of romantic and political intrigue. The play explores themes of desire, gender dynamics, and social class, and features a lively mix of farce, wit, and satire.

The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of a hedonistic and chaotic Carnival, where masks and disguises provide a fitting metaphor for the characters’ fluid identities and motivations. While the play is replete with humorous and risqué moments, it also delves into darker themes such as the commodification of women and the consequences of unchecked desire. Aphra Behn’s vibrant and audacious writing style, along with her keen insights into human nature, make “The Rover” a compelling and enduring work that continues to captivate readers and audiences.

With its colorful cast of characters, intricate plot, and witty dialogue, “The Rover” offers a rich tapestry of human emotions and social dynamics. Behn’s incisive portrayal of the complexities of love and desire, as well as her bold examination of gender and power, mark “The Rover” as a significant contribution to the canon of English literature and a timeless exploration of the human condition.

Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works

“Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works” is a collection of writings by Aphra Behn, a groundbreaking female author in the 17th century. The book includes Behn’s most famous work, “Oroonoko,” which is considered one of the earliest novels in English literature. The story follows the tragic love affair between the African prince Oroonoko and the beautiful Imoinda, set against the backdrop of slavery and colonialism. Behn’s vivid and sympathetic portrayal of Oroonoko’s struggle against oppression and his ultimate tragedy makes the novel a powerful commentary on the inhumanity of slavery.

In addition to “Oroonoko,” the collection also includes “The Rover,” a popular play by Behn that explores themes of love, betrayal, and sexual politics. The play follows the adventures of a group of English exiles in Naples and their romantic entanglements, offering a lively and entertaining depiction of Restoration-era society. Behn’s talent for sharp wit and complex characterizations is on full display in “The Rover,” making it a significant work in her literary oeuvre.

Overall, “Oroonoko, The Rover and Other Works” presents a comprehensive overview of Aphra Behn’s contributions to English literature, showcasing her skill as a playwright, novelist, and social commentator. Behn’s unique perspective as a woman in a male-dominated literary world, as well as her insights into power dynamics, gender relations, and the human condition, make this collection a valuable and enduring work in the canon of English literature.

Oroonoko and Other Writings

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The Rover and Other Plays

“The Rover and Other Plays” by Aphra Behn is a collection of three plays: “The Rover, or The Banished Cavaliers,” “The Debauchee,” and “The Roundheads.” Set in the 17th century, the plays explore themes of love, honor, and political intrigue. “The Rover” follows the adventures of a group of English exiles in Naples, while “The Debauchee” focuses on the downfall of a libertine nobleman. “The Roundheads” introduces themes of political conflict and loyalty during the English Civil War.

Aphra Behn was one of the first professional female playwrights in England, and her works often featured strong, independent female characters. Her plays were known for their wit, clever dialogue, and exploration of complex moral and political themes. “The Rover and Other Plays” showcases Behn’s skill in creating compelling and entertaining dramas that offer insight into the social and political issues of her time.

Overall, “The Rover and Other Plays” presents a vivid and colorful picture of 17th-century England, with its vibrant characters and engaging plots. It provides a valuable glimpse into the world of Restoration drama and Aphra Behn’s significant contributions to the genre.

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The History Of The Nun Or The Fair Vow Breaker

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The Fair Jilt Or Tarquin And Miranda

“The Fair Jilt Or Tarquin And Miranda” is a novella by Aphra Behn, originally published in 1688. The story follows the tragic fate of Miranda, a beautiful and virtuous young woman who becomes entangled in a web of deceit, betrayal, and abuse at the hands of the devious Tarquin. Despite her innocence, Miranda is wrongly accused of infidelity and is subjected to a brutal public trial. She ultimately meets a tragic end, highlighting the injustices faced by women in Behn’s time.

The novella explores themes of power, gender, and morality, and offers a scathing critique of the societal norms and expectations placed on women in the 17th century. Behn’s vivid storytelling and sharp wit bring the characters and their struggles to life, capturing the reader’s attention with its gripping plot and compelling social commentary. “The Fair Jilt Or Tarquin And Miranda” is a thought-provoking work that sheds light on the challenges faced by women in a male-dominated society.

Aphra Behn’s “The Fair Jilt Or Tarquin And Miranda” remains a significant contribution to literature, as it provides a powerful portrayal of the struggles faced by women during the author’s time. Through the experiences of the protagonist Miranda, Behn challenges the traditional roles and expectations imposed on women, shedding light on the injustices and abuses they endured. The novella’s enduring relevance and powerful message continue to captivate readers and inspire discussions about gender, power, and societal norms.

Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

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The Widdow Ranter Or The History Of Bacon In Virginia

“The Widow Ranter Or The History Of Bacon In Virginia” by Aphra Behn is a play set in colonial Virginia during a tumultuous time in the late 17th century. The story follows the character of Bacon, a rebellious and ambitious young man, as he leads a rebellion against the corrupt and oppressive colonial government. The play is filled with political intrigue, romance, and dramatic conflict as Bacon and his followers seek to challenge the powers that be and bring about change in their society.

Behn’s play explores themes of power, justice, and rebellion as the characters navigate the complex world of colonial Virginia. The Widow Ranter, a strong and independent woman, is another pivotal character who plays a central role in the unfolding drama. Through her interactions with Bacon and others, the play delves into issues of gender, freedom, and the struggle for autonomy in a society dominated by patriarchal norms.

As the drama unfolds, the characters grapple with questions of loyalty, morality, and the nature of leadership in a time of social upheaval. The play offers a captivating and thought-provoking look at the challenges and complexities of life in colonial Virginia, and Behn’s vivid and nuanced characters come to life in this engaging and dynamic work.

The Lucky Chance

“The Lucky Chance” by Aphra Behn is a play that explores the themes of love, deception, and social class in 17th-century England. The story revolves around two couples, Lady Traffic and Sir Feeble Fainwould, and Colonel Dapper and his lover, Clarinda, as they navigate the complexities of courtship and marriage. Lady Traffic and Sir Feeble Fainwould, both representing the upper class, engage in a loveless marriage while pursuing extramarital affairs. Colonel Dapper and Clarinda, on the other hand, represent the lower class and struggle to be together despite societal pressures.

The play is a satirical commentary on the upper class’s shallow values and the lower class’s struggle for love and acceptance. Behn uses witty dialogue and comic situations to highlight the ridiculousness of societal norms and the arbitrary nature of social status. Through the interactions of the characters, the play exposes the hypocrisy and absurdity of the upper class and challenges traditional views of marriage and love.

Overall, “The Lucky Chance” is a thought-provoking and entertaining play that provides insight into the social dynamics and attitudes towards love and marriage in 17th-century England. Behn’s clever writing and sharp observations make the play a timeless exploration of human relationships and societal conventions.

About Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn was a highly productive playwright during the English Restoration period and is considered one of the first professional female writers in English literature. Her work significantly influenced the amatory fiction genre, and she is often mentioned in the same breath as fellow writers Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, forming what is known as “The fair triumvirate of wit.” Virginia Woolf emphasized the importance of Behn’s entire career, stating that she earned women the right to speak their minds. Behn was also described as a remarkable and fiercely resented figure in the literary world, compelled to write for a living in an age that catered to the lowest human inclinations. She was seen as the George Sand of the Restoration era, living a Bohemian lifestyle in seventeenth century London.

Author Aphra Behn

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Published at 10:58 - 20/01/2024
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