ENGL 205 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Hermaphrodite, Foreplay, Scrotum

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28 Jan 2013
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Eng205 Lecture 6
January 25 2013
Writing tip: ebscohost(?)
Aphra Behn
We don’t know much about Aphra Behn
Signed up to be an espionage agent for the King and Duke of York
She must have had a really charming personality because she seemed to be of the lower class,
and she was a little bit of a bragger, so the fact that she was totally silent about her family so we
guess that she didn’t have a higher class family. Must have had great personality because she
knew the King and the Duke of York. She was to contact William Scott and she didn’t get much
information (and William Scott lied to her anyway) so her spy career was short lived
She then decided to become a professional writer. A woman who publishes was considered a
prostitute because she was considered to be selling herself
Was sexually active but not really happy. Ended up in her 40s single, abandoned (too old to be
beautiful even though she was still witty and charming)
Plays were a chance thing because if your play didn’t do well enough for a third showing, you
didn’t make money. Authors only got the net box office of the third play, and then every other
third play after that
If you wrote prose, you got quick small money for it. So in her last few years, she wrote prose
She died sad, alone, sick, and poverty stricken
Rochester’s poem was a lot more intimate, a personal event, whereas Behn’s is sort of open, outside,
from a third person point of view until she gets to the last two stanzas
Behn’s poem was translated
Rochester starts right inside the situation, whereas Behn’s translation/the original starts with foreplay
(literal sexual foreplay, and the literary foreplay getting the setting, mood, etc)
Her title is less negative than his
To the Fair Clarinda, Who Made Love to Me, Imagined More than Woman
Ambiguous titleis it Clarinda or me that was imagined as more than a woman?
We find out that Clarinda may have been “intersexed”, or a Hermaphrodite
Believed that females could become men, if a woman fell off a horse it could have knocked her
vagina inside out and turned it into a penis. What we think now is that she was born a male but
the penis and scrotum were stuck inside, and falling off the horse…dropped it
“youth” used to mean “male”
Unusual topic for a poem, but also unusual because it shows it in a positive light, instead of “ew
what do I do with this?” it’s more like “oh! What a great opportunity!”