Restoration Women

January 21, 2015

I watched a fascinating TV show last night presented by the historian Dr Lucy Worsley called Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls.

In the programme Dr Worsley talked about life for women in the mid 17thC focusing on a series of intriguing women including a traveller, a playwright and a soldier.

If you’re in the UK you can watch the show on BBC iPlayer from the link above or alternatively read more about the series in her article.

One of the women mentioned is Aphra Behn and after just a quick glance I’m already hooked. Take for example the first sentence from her novel The Lucky Mistake…

“The River Loyre has on its delightful Banks abundance of handsome, beautiful and rich Towns and Villages, to which the noble Stream adds no small Graces and Advantages, blessing their Fields with Plenty, and their Eyes with a thousand Diversions.”

The Lucky Mistake by Aphra Behn

The Bodleian has a digitised copy of a 19thC edition of her works:
“The plays, histories and novels of … mrs. Aphra Behn. With life and memoirs,
London, 1871”. You can download PDFs of the volumes from the Bodleian catalogue record. The Lucky Mistake is in volume 6 and starts on page 224.