The Rover

Or, The Banish'd Cavaliers

Aphra Behn

Paperback

160pp

Publication date: 28 April 2021

ISBN: 9781913724061

£7.99

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The Rover, or, The Banish’d Cavaliers is the most popular play by the Restoration playwright – and spy – Aphra Behn, first performed in 1677. Although Behn’s work as a spy for Charles II came to an end when he cut off her income, she was a stout Royalist, and ‘the banish’d cavaliers’ refers to the period when Charles’ court was living in exile on the Continent.

In the tradition of Restoration comedy, the play follows the wild exploits of a group of English gentlemen in Naples at carnival time, although many of the tropes of the genre are subverted to an extent which sent shockwaves through the theatre world. Behn’s infamous libertine Willmore, the ‘rover’, was an instant hit, and The Rover catapulted her to overnight fame, and brought her an income from the box office, making her one of the first women to earn a living by their pen.

Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn (c.1640–89), or Astrea, was a poet, author and playwright, best remembered today as being one of the first English women to earn a living with her pen, as well as for her work as a spy for Charles II.

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