Reading Toryism in Aphra Behn's cit-cuckolding comedies

Pacheco, Anita (2004). Reading Toryism in Aphra Behn's cit-cuckolding comedies. Review of English Studies, 55(222) pp. 690–708.



This is a study of Behn's experimentation with the cit-cuckolding comedy as a tool of political comment during the Exclusion Crisis and the early years of James II's reign. It looks briefly at Sir Patient Fancy, but focuses on The False Count, The Roundheads, and The Luckey Chance, attending in particular to Behn's generic innovations in these plays and the way in which they create a space for her to comment on and intervene in the political events of 1681–6, often in a manner that is critical of the royal party. The article rests on the assumption that Behn's Toryism deserves more scholarly attention than it has received, and it will argue that her cit-cuckolding plays disclose something of the complexity of her relationship to the royalist cause. It is now widely accepted that Behn's gender politics did not coexist peacefully with her politics. This article seeks to show that her reservations about Stuart rule stemmed as much from her Tory values as from proto-feminist principles.

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