In search of Eaffry Johnson

Brigid Brophy

  • Reconstructing Aphra by Angeline Goreau
    Oxford, 339 pp, £8.95, November 1980, ISBN 0 19 822663 2

Angeline Goreau calls her chapter on the beginning of Aphra Behn’s life not ‘Birth’ but ‘“Birth” ’. She turns out, however, not to be disputing that Aphra Behn was born or even suggesting that she was from her mother’s womb untimely ripped. It’s merely that Ms Goreau is given to an illiterate use of inverted commas and is under the misapprehension that the time and place of her subject’s birth are unknown. Fluttering her inverted commas, she asserts that the ‘missing “birth” ’ is an impediment to what she calls, with a further flutter and the cosy nomenclature she observes throughout, the ‘search for Aphra’s “identity” ’.

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