Editing Aphra Behn in the Digital Age

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Page 2 of 7

Restoration Women – Virtual Conference @ the Huntington Library

Photograph by Claire Bowditch (personal collection)

Members of the Behn project have organised and will be taking part in a virtual conference on Restoration women at the Huntington Library, which is scheduled for the 15th and 16th April 2021.

The two-day event, “This Reading of Books Is a Pernicious Thing”: Restoration Women Writers and Their Readers, will bring together scholars working on the lives and writings of Restoration women – including Aphra Behn, Margaret Cavendish, Lucy Hutchinson, Anne Finsh and Mary Pix – and explore questions relating to editing, digital approaches, race and readership, among others. The event is funded by The USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. The full conference schedule is below.

Elaine has also written a short blogpost reflecting on her research at the Huntington, and its history in promoting women’s writing, for the library.

Photograph by Claire Bowditch (personal collection)

If you are interested in attending the conference – via Zoom – then you can reserve a place for free here:

Reserve a Place

There may not be the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens of the Huntington, but the conference should prove to be a stimulating and engaging event, wherever in the world you happen to be!

Conference Schedule


All times are PDT.

9 a.m. – Welcome: Steve Hindle, The Huntington
Introduction: Elaine Hobby, Loughborough University (Convener)

9:15 a.m. – Session 1: Publication and its Perils

David Norbrook, Emeritus Fellow, Merton College, Oxford
“Lucy Hutchinson and the Perils of Publication”

Claire Bowditch, University of Queensland
“‘a Purse that seldom fails’?: Aphra Behn’s Finances and Readers’ Legacies”

Jennifer Keith, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
“Anne Finch’s Early Readers in Manuscript and Print”

10:45 a.m. – Break

11 a.m. – Session 2: Machines, Networks, and Book Catalogues

Marie-Louise Coolahan, National University of Ireland Galway
“Late Seventeenth-Century Book Owners and Women’s Writing”

Julia Flanders, Northeastern University
“Reading Models, Modelling Reading: Digital Texts and Human Readers”

12:15 p.m. – Closing Discussion: Elaine Hobby


9:15 a.m. – Session 3: Plays on Stage

Elizabeth H. Hageman, Professor Emerita, University of New Hampshire
“Katherine Philips’s Plays on Stage, in Manuscript, and in Print”

Elaine Hobby, Loughborough University
“Staging Reading in Aphra Behn”

Joyce MacDonald, University of Kentucky
“‘Dazeling white’: Erasing Blackness in Mary Pix’s Ibrahim, the Thirteenth Emperor of the Turks

10:45 a.m. – Break

11 a.m. – Session 4: Reading Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle: Past, Present and Future

Lisa Sarasohn, Professor Emerita, Oregon State University
“‘But to cut off tedious and unnecessary disputes, I return to the expressing of my own opinion…’ (Philosophical Letters, 1664, 81.) Margaret Cavendish’s Gripers and Groupies”

Shawn W. Moore, Florida Southwestern State College
“Reading Margaret Cavendish in the Twenty-First Century”

12:15 p.m. – Break

12:30 p.m. – Closing Discussion: All participants, chaired by Elaine Hobby

Aphra Behn gets ‘A Bit Lit’

This week, Elaine Hobby and Claire Bowditch were invited to take part in a video discussion, on the A Bit Lit YouTube channel, to discuss Behn’s writing and the new edition.

In an engaging conversation with Dr Tom Harrison, Elaine and Claire discuss The Rover, some of Behn’s other plays, her prose, and the challenges and joys of editing her work over the last few years. We hope it’ll prove interesting and a useful resource especially for those less familiar with Behn and/or the perils(?) of literary editing.

Here at the Behn project, we’re very grateful to be able to contribute to the ABitLit YouTube channel, which was set up in UK Lockdown 1 in spring 2020 and seeks to provide ‘a platform for research and creativity’. Check out their website for more information, abitlit.co and see their YouTube channel for many other brilliant videos, talks and Q&As.

BBC Radio 3’s ‘Free Thinking’: Aphra Behn

The Behn Project’s General Editor Claire Bowditch (@thefairjilt), alongside Annalisa Nicholson (@apuddleofmuddle), and Tom Charlton (@Baxterianae), joined John Gallagher (@earlymodernjohn) on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking to discuss research undertaken for The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Aphra Behn; the life of Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarine, to whom Behn dedicated her tale of bigamy and murder, The History of the Nun; and the politically tumultuous period of the 1670s and 1680s.

The episode first aired on 7 January 2021.

You can listen again on BBC Sounds here:


« Older posts Newer posts »