Aphra Behn's English Feminism: Wit and Satire

By Dolors Altaba-Artal | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT APHRA BEHN'S WELL-KNOWN WORK IN TWO genres: playwriting and prose fiction that are heavily influenced by Spanish literature and culture. Her adaptations of Spanish literary pieces from the siglo de oro (the most flourishing period in the history of Spanish literature, roughly from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century) in her drama, a subject that has already received considerable attention, will be reviewed, and her uses of Spanish prose fiction for her novels are demonstrated. Through the study of scholarly works dealing with this subject, research on Behn's drama and novels, and an exhaustive comparison of her production with texts from the Spanish siglo de oro, the connecting points have been found.

M. M. Bakhtin's “Discourse in the Novel” in The Dialogic Imagination. Four Essays (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981) serves to explain Behn's discourse, for it is composed of a mixture of voices, heteroglossia, which she dialogizes. One of these voices, the Spanish, is present in almost half of her comedies and in more than half of her novels. Not only Calderón's cape and sword plays become basic for her “Spanish plot” comedies, but prose works by Cervantes and Castillo Solórzano are also used. Bakhtin's ideas become even more pertinent when discussing Behn's novels with the Spanish voice from María de Zayas y Sotomayor.

Likewise, the theory presented by Rose A. Zimbardo in A Mirror to Nature. Transformations in Drama and Aesthetics 1660– 1732 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1986), which divides the period into four stages, has been of the utmost importance in showing the chronological process of Behn's production with its constant increase in dialogization. Her thesis also helps in understanding that when Behn changed her writing genre from comedies to novels, the greatest leap in dialogization occurred.

It is especially to John Loftis's The Spanish Plays of Neoclassi

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Aphra Behn's English Feminism: Wit and Satire
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • 1- Introduction- Before Aphra Behn 15
  • 2- Theology to Humanism 26
  • 3- Spanish Tale and Echoes 46
  • 4- Cape and Sword Plays 64
  • 5- The Heyday of Restoration Comedy 89
  • 6- Novelistic Drama 107
  • 7- Aphra Behn''s First Novel 127
  • 8- Aphra Behn''s "Nun" Novels 146
  • 9- Aphra Behn''s "Mistake" Novels 164
  • 10- Aphra Behn''s "Unfortunate" Novels 182
  • Coda 202
  • Notes 206
  • Bibliography 220
  • Index 226
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