Aphra Behn was England's first professional woman writer, but her status as a major author has only recently become clear. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, Behn was denigrated for her 'unwomanly' subject matter and intellectual immodesty. In the twentieth century she has been increasingly viewed as an important dramatist and poet of the Restoration and a founder of the English vel. This book sets Behn firmly in an historical context of political factions, theatre developments and colonial encounters, and includes chapters on each of the genres in which she wrote: drama, fiction, poetry and translation, and on other aspects of her life, from her publishing struggles to her involvement in American slavery. It is an important resource for those studying seventeenth-century English literature and drama, and to those interested in the development of women's writing.