Aphra Behn was a prolific dramatist of the English Restoration and was one of the first English professional female writers. Her writing contributed to the amatory fiction genre of British literature. Along with Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, she is sometimes referred to as part of "The fair triumvirate of wit."
In author Virginia Woolf's reckoning, Behn's total career is more important than any particular work it produced. Woolf wrote, "All women together, ought to let flowers fall upon the grave of Aphra Behn... for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds." Vita Sackville-West called Behn 'an inhabitant of Grub Street with the best of them, ... a phenomenon never seen and ... furiously resented.' She was, as Felix Shelling said, 'a very gifted woman, compelled to write for bread in an age in which literature ... catered habitually to the lowest and most depraved of human inclinations. Her success depended upon her ability to write like a man.' ... She was, as Edmund Gosse remarked, 'the George Sand of the Restoration,' and she lived the Bohemian life in London in the seventeenth century as George Sand lived it in Paris in the nineteenth.