Aphra behn the name of a lady who inspired thousands of people in this world through her struggle and hard work. Even today, people stay inspired and believe in making a living out of anything they wish. The source of their motivation is Aphra behn, the first woman to make a career out of writing.
The era she belonged to had no woman or even a man writing to earn money. However, her difficult times made her realize that she has no option but to start doing anything that she believes in.
Therefore, she poured her thoughts and beliefs out on a paper and became a novelist. Eventually, she started writing plays to inspire people even more. Today, she is known as a novelist, dramatist, and a poet. I am writing this article to take you to her difficult, but inspiring journey.
HER EARLY LIFE:
As far as her early life is concerned, her date of birth and parents are unknown. Her estimated year of birth is 1640. It is believed that John Johnson was her father, but it is, still, unknown if he was her real father or if she was adopted. Either way, it is a fact that she was the daughter of a barber. As far as her residence is concerned, she lived some part of her life in Surinam. In 1664, she returned to England and married a Dutch merchant. However, he died a year later without leaving any money behind. Aphra behn was left alone in the world as a poor widow with no source of income.
HER CAREER LIFE:
She became a spy, but her career as a spy was short lived. She was extremely talented and witty. Her skills were highly appreciated by King Charles II and she was immediately appointed as a spy. It was a secret service in the North. However, she was drowning in debt because she wasn’t getting paid. After the second Dutch war she came back with her career as a spy ruined; mainly because in London, she didn’t get paid a single penny for her services.
She was left no choice, but to come back and live her life in her own way. When she came to England she had no means of income or any money in her pockets. It was, at that time, that she really needed a way to make money.
At that time, there were great woman writers like Katherine Philips who were into writing. However, she wasn’t making money through it. Writing was her passion and since she came from an aristocratic background, she didn’t need money.
As per Aphra behn, she had no inspiration for herself. She needed money and was enthusiastic about writing. It was, at that time, that she decided to make a living out of writing. She wrote her first novel Oroonko. Though she was known as a novelist, she basically was a dramatist, too. She wrote and mounted a number of plays in London.
HER WORK AS A WRITER:
Oroonko is the name of her first novel. Surinam is the place of inspiration for her and the sprinkles of which are shown in the novel. It is believed that she traveled to Surinam with a couple named Amis. The novel is about an African slave’s love story. She claimed to have met this slave in South America. The way she related slavery with gender was incredible. By the 21st century, everyone was impressed with her work.
Behn was a versatile writer; she wrote novels and plays on a number of themes. Her diverse novels include Love Letters between a Nobleman and her sisters and The Fair Jilt. She, also, wrote a play called The Forc’d Marriage which fell in the comedy genre. She mixed comedy with real life situations and tried hard to awaken the truth inside people’s minds. Her main motive was to earn money, but by introducing new energy and motivation to people. She didn’t write obscure stories; she wrote what she believed in.
Even after immense hard work, she died a poor widow. Most of her work was published after her death. She was buried in a corridor in the Westminster Abbey. Even though there was a separate section for poets, she was deprived of that honor and buried in the corridor outside. However, her grave is somewhere in England near the company of the intelligent admired citizens. There is no doubt that she was an inspiring woman and it is only due to her that writing was introduced as a source of income. Today, even teenagers are making a good amount of money through writing.