December 14 in Literary History: Shirley Jackson Born

The most significant events in the history of books on the 14th of December

1640: Aphra Behn is (possibly) born. Few details about Behn’s early life are known for sure, but it’s possible that she was the ‘Eaffrey Johnson’ who was born in Harbledown in Kent, on December 14 1640. Behn is often named as the first woman writer to make a living from her pen (by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One’s Own, for instance); it’s certainly true that she was the first consistently popular female playwright in England whose plays were put on the London stage. She also wrote an early novel (or novella) in English, Oroonoko, about an African prince who is taken to be a slave in South America.

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