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Friday, February 1, 2013

Being Sterile Likely Prevented this Heroine from Having Children

Among other more lauded individuals Aphra Behn is buried in Westminster Abby. You may not know of her, she left no daughters and though many subsequent playwrights and writers have adapted her themes. She wrote dramas and her book and literary writings were prolific. A female writer, poet and spy she was the first female to actually earn her living as a writer. She is especially charismatic as a legendary weaver of tales because so little is really known of where she came from. She was traveling as an adolescent with a couple into Surinam, but before that, apparently no one knew of her family. So we know of no family history, and are left to puzzle why she either contracepted so effectively in the 1600s or was effectively sterile. Finding medical facts regarding even the most famous of the literary giants prior to very recent times has been difficult and those we have sparse and poorly documented. So we are left with conjecture and reading between the lines. We know she was briefly married and that she was never known to bear any children. She had a varied and rather scandalous life in the British court in the 1600s and was even a spy to the nordic territories. So Aphra Behn's memory is left in words not genes, as far as we know. 

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