International Women’s Day: the 10 best feminists

A playwright, translator and spy, Behn (also known as Astrea) has a good claim to


being the first Englishwoman to make a living outof her writing. In the centuries after her death in 1689, her plays were dismissed as indecent because of their focus on female sexuality (“The stage how loosely does Astrea tread/ Who fairly puts all characters to bed!” wrote Alexander Pope in 1737). Recent feminist scholars have rediscovered her writing, and have made the case that the publication of her prose fiction Oroonoko, the story of a slave, was a key moment in the development of the English novel.

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