Daily Archives for: March 4th, 2021

“The Disappointment” by Aphra Behn (1680)

“The Disappointment” by Aphra Behn, a poem first published in 1680, is arguably among the best known and enduring of her works. Considered scandalous in her lifetime, Behn (1640 – 1689), a playwright, poet, and novelist, is recognized as the first British woman to earn a living by her writing. 

In this lengthy poem, the shepherd Lisander attempts to force himself on the maid Cloris. It’s implied that that two are in love, and that the encounter is not a random situation.

Cloris, however, is unwilling, and Lisander is unable to perform — experiencing “the Hell of Impotence.” She is able to escape, and yet, since the perspective is on the female sexual experience, we’re left to wonder which of the pair is the most disappointed. Read More→


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