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Does not my fortune sit high upon my brow Dost not see the little wanton god there all gay and smiling have I not an air about my face and eyes that distinguish me from the crowd of common lovers --Aphra Behn The Rover She was not the first woman writer neither was she the only woman writer of her day But Aphra Behn holds the singular distinction of being the first professional woman writer in the English language She was the first woman writer who did it for money It was a natural choice for this young woman a recent spy for the crown and a widow at the age of 26 to turn to selling herself in a manner of speaking in order to survive Many other women of the period did so but instead of novels and plays they sold something much more fundamental and far more common Single women whether spinsters or widows often allowed themselves to be kept by rich men of the commons and nobility alike Guffey Wright 54 Mrs Behn chose not to sell herself but her intelligence and work and was berated as a whore for her efforts Most biographers seem to agree Ayfara or Aphara Aphra Amis or Amies the daughter of John and Amy Amis or Amies was baptized together with her brother Peter in the Parish Church of SS Gregorty and Martin Wye July 10 1640 Guffey Wright 12 Until this time Aphras maiden name has been stated to be Johnson and she is asserted to be the daughter of a barber John Johnson She acquired her education and her connections at court through a noble childhood friend for whom her mother acted as wet-nurse She grew up during the Civil War and the interregnum and was approximately nineteen when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 When she was about twenty years old the Amis family left
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