“Memorialls for Mrs Affora”: Aphra Behn and the Restoration intelligence world

Marshall, A (2015) '“Memorialls for Mrs Affora”: Aphra Behn and the Restoration intelligence world.' Women's Writing, 22 (1). pp. 13-33. ISSN 1747-5848

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09699082.2014.941181


Focusing on the “Memorialls for Mrs Affora”, the instructional document issued by the Secretary of State's office to Aphra Behn in advance of her spying mission to the Low Countries from July to December 1666, this article explores the culture and conventions of Restoration espionage, and Behn's role within it. In doing so, it seeks to position Behn's role and correspondence in relation to both the practices of her male and female contemporaries, and the textual aesthetics that characterized correspondence related to espionage—both overt and clandestine—in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Whereas Behn is often seen by literary scholars to occupy a curious position as a female spy for Charles II's government, this article argues that knowledge of the networks and subtleties that sustained espionage activity during the Restoration complicates that view. Its observations about the textual strategies deployed by Behn and other spies in espionage materials also prompt further thinking about her use elsewhere of the letter form and character development.

Item Type: Article

First published online on 6 December 2014. Part of a special issue entitled 'Aphra Behn: New Questions and Contexts'.

Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DJ Netherlands (Holland)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
UoA: History
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/09699082.2014.941181
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2015 09:50
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:39
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/5133
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