Am I a Literary Blogger? Janet Todd’s “Aphra Behn: A Secret Life”

Aphra Behn engraving by Robert White after a lost portrait by John Riley, c. 1680

Am I a literary blogger?

Well, perhaps not.

Unfortunately, I  can’t read every review copy, even if it is addressed to “Literary Blogger.” Isn’t that the most endearing title ever?

I’d love to be a literary blogger.  But  I resolved not to accept any review copies this year: I just don’t have time.  After a landmark birthday, my white hair and  shockingly sun-striated face convinced me to rethink my reading and set a “syllabus” for myself.

But the book in question, a reissue of Janet Todd’s biography, Aphra Behn: A Secret Life, with a new preface, looks fascinating. According to the Goodreads description, “Aphra Behn (1640-1689), poet, playwright, novelist, traveller and spy, was the first woman to earn her living as a writer: her works include The Rover, The Fair Jilt, Love Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister, and The Forc’d Marriage. ” Todd, a  Professor Emerita of the University of Aberdeen and an Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge  has written biographies of Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Shelley and is also the General Editor of the 9-volume Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen.

Impressive credentials, no? I’ll read it slowly over the next month and post periodically about this biography, and then when I’m done give it away to whoever wants it:  leave a comment or write me at

And ‘fess up:  who gave my name to the publishing company?  Or am I just twirling in cyberspace now?