Aphra Behn's English Feminism: Wit and Satire

By Dolors Altaba-Artal | Go to book overview

2
Theology to Humanism: Aphra Behn's
The Young King; or, The Mistake

AS DISCUSSED IN THE INTRODUCTION, WHEN THE THEATERS REopened and throughout the early 1660s Restoration playwrights translated Spanish literary pieces, and soon “there were … numerous translations of Spanish works circulating in England.”1 Not only King Charles, “of a large intelligent capacity” (L, 30), but also Queen Catherine showed enthusiasm for Spanish literature, especially for contemporary drama. This probably explains the reason for the theaters' flourishing in spite of hardship, political unrest, internal revolts, wars in foreign lands, and religious rivalries. It must be acknowledged that Charles II was an able monarch who cleverly mediated toleration during a difficult period. The king with the lord chancellor can be credited for achieving a successful renewal of the monarchical-parliamentary state because they “gave peace to the land, stayed the furies of revenge, and made it to the interest of all parties to live as loyal subjects of the restored monarchy.”2 The problems caused by the return of the exiles demanding their lost possessions and the power acquired by the new owners had to be solved. Furthermore, from 1665 to 1667 the first pointless and wasteful Dutch War was fought. In 1665 the Great Plague diminished the population, and in 1666 London was almost destroyed by the Great Fire.

As early as 1663, the king “suggested to sir Samuel Tuke the Spanish drama for which was fashioned Adventures of Five Hours.”3Los empeños de seis horas (The Itch of Six Hours) was at first thought to be Calderón's, and later it was believed to be Antonio Coello y Ochoa's—but the actual author is unknown. Notwithstanding, Tuke's Adventures of Five Hours was well received and marked the beginning of successful Spanish-type comedies. Tuke kept the English tradition of five acts and “broke up

-26-

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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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