..'I value fame almost as much as if I had been born a hero'.
(Preface to The Lucky Chance). Aphra Behn (1640-89) achieved both
fame and notoriety in her own time, enjoying considerable success
for her plays and for her short novel Oroonoko, the story of a
noble slave who loves a princess. Acclaimed by Virginia Woolf as
the first English woman to earn her living by the pen, Behn's
achievements as a writer are now acknowledged less equivocally than
in the seventeenth century. As well as Oroonoko, this volume
contains five other works of fiction ranging from comedy and high
melodrama to tragedy. The Fair Jilt, Memoirs of the Court of the
King of Bantam, The History of the Nun, The Adventure of the Black
Lady, and The Unfortunate Bride are complemented by a generous
selection of her poetyr, ranging from public political verse to
lyrics and witty conversation poems. This selection demonstrates
Behn's range, as well as her wit, compassion, and interest in the
question of identity and self-representation.