During the Restoration poems circulated in a variety of forms, from copied manuscript to printed anthology. The merging of the theatre companies for which she wrote made the writing of plays less profitable for her, and though she wrote a small number of plays after this one, she focused more on other forms of writing. A snake in the garden, but dead and worthy of disdain. The Disappointment is a translation of a French perfect enjoyment poem. When a collection of her works was published in 1871, the publisher was attacked by the reviewing press who found Behn to be too corrupt, vile, and polluting to be enduring. He renounces his reason; he despairs; his rage and shame are the direct result of the injury suffered by his self- image, an identity defined by his ability to perform and to possess. The combination results at least in escape.
In the case of her translations of Fontenelle, Lucretius, and La Rochefoucauld, translations also enabled her to enter into controversies on science, religion, and philosophy that otherwise would not be deemed fit subjects for the writings of an unlearned woman. This was a period before Romanticism, and before poetry was viewed as a medium for the expression of personal feelings. But not to put him back design'd. All things did with his Love conspire; The gilded Planet of the Day, In his gay Chariot drawn by Fire, Was now descending to the Sea, And left no Light to guide the World, But what from Cloriss Brighter Eyes were hurled. While that work presented the problem from the male viewpoint, Behn relates the incident from the female point of view.
This is a central concern of Behn's poem to Thomas Creech, on his translation of Lucretius. One month after arrival, she pawned her jewellery. The day is fading into night, thus removing the illumination Cloris needs to find a means of escape. The range of Behn's poetic output over all these publications suggests something of the necessary diversity of Restoration poetry. Ready to taste a thousand Joys, The too transported hapless Swain Found the vast Pleasure turn'd to Pain; Pleasure which too much Love destroys: The willing Garments by he laid, And Heaven all open'd to his view, Mad to possess, himself he threw On the Defenceless Lovely Maid.
While the woman's mock resistance seems to be a convention of behavior in the world that Behn describes, it also seems to be a convention of practice in the genre of the imperfect enjoyment poem. During this time period, two major philosophers wrote about democracy and the structure of government. Most of her poetry is about desire. But we could also read it as Behn demonstrating again that she can do what she should not be able to do: write like a man, translate her French source so well that she sounds more like him than he does himself. She had difficulty using her hands, but continued to write until the end, and was a celebrated literary figure. Among her plays were The Forced Marriage, or the Jealous Bridegroom 1671 ; The Amorous Prince 1671 ; The Town Fop 1677 ; and The Rover, or the Banished Cavalier in two parts, 1677 and 1681 , The Debauchee, 1677 , The Counterfeit Bridegroom, 1677 , and The Roundheads 1682. Here there are two stories being retold: both the imperfect enjoyment, and the seduction of Eve.
Janet Todd London: Pickering and Chatto, 1992 , pp. Who can the nymph's confusion guess? Behn chooses to challenge the form by modifying the French original the most dramatic alteration being she chooses to omit two-thirds of the poem where Lysander recovers. Shakespeare, Aphra Behn and the Canon. For her, a narrative that is ostensibly about premature ejaculation-about a man's failure of physio- logical control-provides the opportunity to examine a wider dynamics of power, authority, and social role playing that perme- ates and perverts the relations between the sexes. Below I analyse one of her most famous works, and of course one of my favorite poems of hers. It can be found in our Norton anthology on pages 2163-2165.
Behn was born during the buildup of the , a child of the political tensions of the time. After over sixty lines of erotic expectation and excitement, we read: Abandon'd by her Pride and Sharne, She does her softest Joys dispence, Off'ring her Virgin-Innocence A Victim to Loves Sacred Flame: While the o'er-Ravish'd Shepherd lies Unable to perform the Sacrifice. Behn countered these public attacks in the prefaces of her published plays. Like the works that came just before it, Oroonoko was quite successful, and was adapted for the stage in 1695 though the author by then had been dead for several years. This could be a way of suggesting that due to the social constructs of gender, even weak males are seen to be powerful.
I cannot, must not giveRetire, Or take this Life, whose chiefest part I gave you with the Conquest of my Heart. Behn's Translations and her Quest for Literary Status Behn was attracted to poetry because of its high-culture status. Behn uses flowery poetic language to describe the sexual encounter which leaves Cloris with nothing to hold onto but a limp noodle, but there is no mistaking what is going. Behn's focus on the female sexual experience is unusual for the time, though not unusual for Behn. Her poetry explores the theme she enjoyed: the intertwining of sexual and political power. Stanza 11 As Lysander lapses, Cloris awakens back to the world around her. But oh what envying god conspires To snatch his power, yet leave him the desire! To call attention to the very construction of gender itself as Behn does is to destabilize and render arbitrary the very ascription of power and reason to males.
Her code name is said to have been Astrea, a name under which she later published many of her writings. Yet at the same time, this passage is situated as part of a translation that worked as an act of homage to one of the most influential male poets of the time, Abraham Cowley. Stanza 12 What she finds there causes her to draw her hand back. This further complicates the idea of power within gender roles as Cloris is granted a form of authority over events in which she might have been powerless otherwise. Why is this word-choice appropriate or bitterly inappropriate? The scenario of which this fear and haste is most reminiscent, and which is evoked in the reference to Daphne, is an attempted rape. But what differs in her version is that we are told of the woman's disappointment. And, yes, this is a genre of the time that was an actual thing! British Authors Before 1800: A Biographical Dictionary.