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Woolf on Behn
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Date Published: 13 July 2012
In Collection(s): Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, Virginia Woolf, Celebrating women’s writing: the pen in their hands, George Eliot
Episode academic description
The fourth chapter from Woolf's critical text 'A Room of One's Own' discusses the importance of literary forerunners and their influence on the work of later great writers. Woolf puts much acclaim upon Aphra Behn, a woman 'forced to make a living on her wits', and traces the evolution of female authorship from the sixteenth centry to the Victorian period. In this chapter Woolf claims that, due to Behn, writing for a woman became practical and serious - a means of making money when all other support failed. Such is her importance to female authorship that 'All women together' suggests Woolf 'ought to let flowers fall on the tomb of Aphra Behn'.