Amatory Ethics and Metaphors of Flame in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt

Amatory Ethics and Metaphors of Flame in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt

Amatory Ethics and Metaphors of Flame in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt


When Miranda — the eponymous protagonist of Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt; or, the History of Prince Tarquin and Miranda (1688) — falls in love with Friar Francisco, she seduces him with metaphors of flame: “Now she resolves a thousand Ways in her tortur’d Mind, to let him know her Anguish, and at last pitch’d upon that of writing to him soft Billets, which she had learnt the Art of doing; or if she had not, she now had Fire enough to inspire her with all that cou’d charm and move.”[1] Miranda’s flaming desire for Friar Francisco is both inspirational and destructive. It moves her to poetic charm (if she didn’t have it before) and marks her as a desiring and a dangerous woman.

Early critical configurations of women and sexual desire insisted upon the ignorance of physical desire in females. Patricia Meyer Spacks, in “Every Woman Is at Heart a Rake,” explains that an amatory heroine might rage, pant, and desire, but “it’s essential that she doesn’t know quite what she’s doing.”[2] Regarding the powerful influence of desire in the early novel, Nancy Armstrong suggests that “[t]he female was the figure, above all else, on whom depended the outcome of the struggle among competing ideologies” but that women’s desirability, not their desire, is what makes the novel itself significant.[3] More recently, however, Kathleen Lubey has argued for “amatory aesthetics,” suggesting that “[s]ex, far from being a degenerate literary content, is of great epistemological importance because it throws the human passions into relief, allowing readers unadulterated access to the working of characters’ minds and bodies.”[4] Lubey’s argument highlights the importance of the passions to a text, rather than dismissing or reconfiguring characters who experience sexual desire as purposefully “ignorant.”[5] Behn’s work makes no apologies for women with encompassing passions. She uses the motif of fire to augment the inspiring, destructive, and devastating forces of sexual desire — a devastation that consumes the objects of desire while also creating a character who is built on destructive desire.

This essay examines the language of illicit desire through the metaphor of fire as a way to explore the emotional ethics of early authors of British fiction.[6] Emotional ethics is a system of principles that governs a person’s behavior, according to concepts of what is emotionally good or bad, right or wrong, as opposed to a moral system of behavior, for instance, fidelity to a lover (who is loved), rather than a spouse (who is not). This set of rules eventually leads to a sense of individualism for the characters of amatory fiction.[7] This amatory ethics contains specific truths of emotional life, as outlined by amatory authors. Amatory fiction, such as The Fair Jilt, explores ideals of passionate living through desiring female characters, privileging experience in emotion (especially love and desire) over moral conventionality. Amatory works like Behn’s Jilt have come to the foreground in recent histories of the development of the English novel and of professional women writers in Britain. So far, the purpose of the fiery female has not yet been explored in terms of the dialogue of the passions so prevalent in early modern culture (about 1500–1800). Moreover, the two major studies on amatory fiction — Ros Ballaster’s Seductive Forms (1992) and Toni Bowers’s Force or Fraud (2011) — are almost silent on the subject of fiery Miranda.[8] Images of fire in The Fair Jilt consistently act as a synecdoche to explain Miranda’s illicit passions, her actions, her desires, and her penchant for destroying hearts and lives. Through the metaphor of fire, Miranda emerges as a desiring libertine subject, rather than a moralistic and desirable object. Behn not only uses the language of the passions to describe her protagonist, but also adds to the conversation in terms of amatory aesthetics and early modern passions theory. Although the metaphor of unruly flame to describe desire is typical of early modern literature, in this case it highlights illicit sexual desire in amatory ethics, and it is a metaphor for sexual subjectivity, rather than an assumed “unconscious” and “unknowing” sexuality of female characters of the early novel.

fire in amatory ethics

The emotional ethics of amatory fiction establishes an alternate framework for desire for its protagonists. Jacqueline Pearson has noted that in Behn’s prose fiction desire “is essentially problematic” and “it is by definition forever thwarted, forever shifting and mutable.”[9] Indeed, Behn’s works rarely note desire without illuminating its problems, contingencies, difficulties, changes, and soul-killing effects. Behn’s amatory ethics both celebrates and disparages desire to demonstrate that it is a necessary, unavoidable fact of human existence. In Behn’s ethics, fidelity follows feeling rather than socially prescribed rules and desire is a prerequisite for self-knowledge. When metaphors of flame flare up in her works, they signal illicit, unworthy, or inappropriate desires.

Behn’s amatory ethics rereads fidelity by privileging those who follow emotional impulses rather than rejecting them; however, despite this reiteration, metaphors of flame point to illicit love. In the play The Rover (1677), for instance, metaphors of flame inflect the language between Willmore (a cavalier) and Angelica Bianca (a courtesan) but not between Willmore and the heiress Hellena. Willmore’s language, especially, equates his desire for Angelica with inappropriate, flaming love. His love for her burns brightly but is inconstant. Willmore argues that her status as a courtesan doesn’t repel him but rather attracts him to her because of its illicitness:

[Your infamy] secures my Heart, and all the Flames it feels

Are but so many Lusts,

I know it by their sudden bold intrusion.

The Fire’s impatient and betrays, ’tis false — [10]

Flame and fire denote lustful attraction: love here imposes — it is eager, disloyal, and untrue. Angelica Bianca’s love for Willmore contains no flame metaphors. Her power over other men is “like Lightning in my Eyes,” but her love for Willmore smolders rather than blazes and is equated to holy offerings rather than unruly fire:

Wou’d not the Incense and rich Sacrifice,

Which blind Devotion offer’d at my Altars,

Have fall’n to thee?[11]

Willmore’s love for Angelica is satiating, changeful love, easily satisfied through appetite (he sleeps with her once then leaves her for Hellena); hers for him is longer lasting, slower, smoldering, like incense and other forms of devotion. While Behn’s play takes the concepts of love and marriage and makes them ironic, her language of illicit and inappropriate desire is stable: metaphors of flame denote inappropriate love.

Behn furthers her amatory ethics in her Pindaric ode “On Desire” (1688). In this poem, desire not only is an entity to love in and of itself, but also is required for self-knowledge. Again, metaphors of flame show up when love is inappropriate. The speaker laments that desire doesn’t show its face when the love object is worthy of the speaker’s love owing to shining honor, interest, ambition, or youth. Instead desire strikes its own course and lays low all the expectations of the lover — Behn’s speakers tend to love the “wrong” object of desire and they often “know not why,” as metaphors of flame describe the emotional distress and lack of control. Desire itself is a “nimble fire, that dost dilate / Thy mighty force thrô every part”; it is the bastard offspring of “mistaken love” and “some soft thought” born through the “bright piercing of Lysander’s eyes.”[12] The metaphor of fire augments these illicit attractions; when it would make sense to take a love who is beautiful, rich, clever, or witty, a “sigh cou’d [not] fan thee to a fire”[13]; the fire of desire is only present when the object of desire is unworthy of the speaker’s love. In addition to illicit relationships, fire and desire are connected to heretical worship:

Thy conscious fire is mingl’d with my love,

As in the sanctify’d abodes

Misguided worshippers approve

The mixing Idol with their Gods.[14]

Yet the importance of the experience of desire is heightened as the poem continues. The speaker goes further and chastises those who don’t show the effects of desire. When they pretend to chastely deny desire to themselves, it is because they have not experienced it:

Tell me, yee fair ones, that exchange desire,

How ’tis you hid the kindling fire.

Oh! wou’d you but confess the truth,

It is not real virtue makes you nice:

But when you do resist the pressing youth,

’Tis want of dear desire, to thaw the Virgin Ice.[15]

The modesty, the very virtue, of the women who will not bow to desire is false modesty: they do not bow because they have not actually known what it is to desire so intensely. The speaker asks how they can “hide” their fire and, coming up with no plausible answer, decides it must be because they are untouched by the flames of desire. Their “want” of desire makes them virtuous, rather than heroically resistant. They can remain cool as ice because they are not fired.

The speaker finishes the poem by praising experience. She better knows herself now that she has had experience with arbitrary, all-encompassing, fiery desire. She tells this to those unaffected by desire:

Deceive the foolish World — deceive it on,

And veil your passions in your pride;

But now I’ve found your feebles by my own,

From me the needful fraud you cannot hide.[16]

Because the speaker has experienced desire, she knows what it is, what it can do, and how its flames cannot truly be hidden: “’tis a mighty power must move / The soul to this degree of love.”[17] Those who can “veil [their] passions in [their] pride” have a weakness, but their weakness is not being consumed by desire, it is never having had experience of it in the first place. The speaker, in contrast, having experienced the flames of desire, understands how powerful the passion is that can move her soul to love. This reading highlights the main truth of Behn’s amatory ethics that the experience of the passion of love (here figured as desire) creates a knowing character. Understanding the self only happens once desire is embodied and experienced.

To further articulate how the metaphor of flame might be understood in the Restoration period (1660–89), it makes sense to revisit the ways in which Galenic medicine, gender, and literature interact. Work on early modern bodies and the passions by Michael C. Schoenfeldt and Timothy Hampton helps situate the notion of vital heat in early modern psychology and physiology and perhaps makes Miranda’s role as the possessor of vital heat more radical than it seems at first. For Hampton, “there are glimpses of a modern ‘psychology’ in Renaissance lyric,” an understanding of mental and physical health that is heavily informed by Galenic medicine.[18] His work builds on that of Schoenfeldt, who argues for the importance of Galenic theories in what we understand as early modern psychology, the central element of which was humoral theory, “[which] held that physical health and mental disposition were determined by the balance within the body of the four humoral fluids produced by the various stages of digestion.”[19] Disruptions to mental or physical health were correspondingly explained by the imbalance of these humors. Disease was signaled by too much of one element, humor, or emotional stance and could even complicate notions of gender. Four humors corresponded to elements and physical and mental states of being. Hot and dry masculine perfection was embodied in the element of fire and the humor of yellow bile; the female was embodied by cold, wet calmness found in phlegm. Hampton usefully notes that Galenic theory “leads to emphasis on the maintenance of heat,” something that Miranda possesses in full.[20] The Galenic model of vital heat is evident in Behn’s configuration of desire — cool, damp women should try their best to extinguish hot, dry men if they wish not to be consumed in consummation. Behn’s Miranda upends these early modern commonplaces.

In Behn’s 1688 poem “To Alexis in Answer to His Poem against Fruition,” the metaphor of fire makes use of these gendered Galenic theories to refer directly to the momentary nature of fleeting masculine desires. Images of flame, fire, and lightning all refer to hot, heavy, short-lived, and extreme passion; males alight, females are consumed, and the males (like Willmore) move on:

Ah hapless sex! Who bear no charms,

But what like lightning flash and are no more

False fires sent down for baneful harms,

Fires which the fleeting Lover feebly warms

And given like past [d]eboches o’er,

Like songs that please (thô bad) when new,

But learn’d by heart neglected grew.[21]

Here the fire of masculine sexual desire is quick, like a flash of lighting: it is “false,” it is “fleeting,” it sours with repetition, and it is quickly passed over; as fire that burns quickly and hot leaves nothing but ashes, such is the love of the “hapless sex.” Inconstancy is expected and once the flame of desire is created in the object of desire, she is neglected and the flame must move on quickly to another source of fuel to continue to burn: “No sooner kindles the designing flame, / But to the next bright object bears / The trophies of his conquest and our shame.”[22] The poem finishes with suggestions to the women who are thus burned for, lusted after, and enjoyed only to be consumed and abandoned: they are to remember all the “sighing and abandoned maid[s]” their paramour has probably left “in every shade.”[23] The speaker claims that men are unconcerned with women after they are satisfied; if “possession” is what “damps his fire,” the speaker encourages women to be cool and wet, to remember the ashes left from the maids before them.[24] Miranda embodies all the “wrong” sorts of physical and psychological health from a Galenic standpoint because her desire is illicit: she is hot, dry, forceful, and thus masculine.

fire in the fair jilt

The frame narrative of The Fair Jilt offers clear parameters for the kinds of love and desire that are acceptable in the world of amatory fiction;[25] additionally, it prepares the reader to understand the detriments of unruly desire. In amatory ethics, there are two kinds of love: lustful, bodily desire that is easily sated through consummation (like Willmore’s) and eternal love that is lasting, does not change through possession of the beloved, and requires a mind-body connection (like Angelica’s). William Reddy regards the continuum of romantic love as created in early modern Europe as running from “desire as appetite” to “longing for association.”[26] Desire as appetite is the problematic kind of love, and Behn consistently discusses such love through metaphors of fire and flame.

The narrator sets up Miranda as an example of a character who has burning, uncontrolled, illicit desires: “I’ll prove to you the strong Effects of Love in some unguarded and ungovern’d Hearts; where it rages beyond the Inspirations of a God all soft and gentle, and reigns more like a Fury from Hell.[27] The “proof” is the story of Miranda and the effects of love in her “ungovern’d heart,” where love, uncontrolled and unregulated, becomes desire that “rages … like a fury from hell.” Behn explains that virtue and honor are the benefits of “noblest metal” that Love’s “darts” can bestow; honorable love will manifest in “easie Flames” when love’s “Aim is virtue, and whose end is honor.”[28] Such arrows demonstrate “the refin’d and illustrious Passions of the Soul.”[29] But there are other kinds of darts in the quiver: “they are all fine, painted, glittering Darts … but the Wounds they make, reach the Desire only, and are cur’d by possessing.”[30] These are the darts evident in the poem “To Alexis,” the “False fires sent down for baneful harms.”[31] Two states of the passion of love are at stake for Behn — one defined through virtue, honor, and heroic responses (longing for association) and the other defined through surface and satiety (desire as appetite). Miranda, interested in attention, money, and nobility of birth, possesses the kind of superficial, “unguarded and ungoverned” heart that will be enflamed by destructive desire. She will not “suffer … her self to be conqur’d by Love and Honour[32]; more significantly, her heart “cou’d not suffer itself to be confin’d to one Man.”[33] Miranda’s desires are superficial, inconstant, selfish, and brought about by her vanity. She is the epitome of the inconstant (masculine) lover.

The narrator also describes Miranda as beautiful, witty, and coquettish but figures her penchant for suddenly raging into unruly flame as untouched “amorous inclination.” Her inclination does not remain untouched for long, however, as “Love … sent an Arrow dipp’d in the most tormenting Flames that rage in Hearts most sensible. He struck it home and deep, with all the Malice of an angry God.[34] The image is arresting. We can almost see Cupid vengefully dipping the arrow in pitch, lighting it with ungoverned desire, taking careful aim with a flaming tip, and striking her heart, which, lacking the protective features of honor and virtue, suddenly bursts into unruly, flaming desire. Miranda’s earlier amorous inclinations were in no way this destructive but easily controlled and easily shrugged off — they did not burn harshly. However, now “Love, who did not design she shou’d now feel any sort of those easie Flames with which she had heretofore burnt, made her soon lay all those Considerations aside which us’d to invite her to love, and now lov’d she knew not why.”[35] Before this attack by flaming arrows of desire, Miranda’s attraction to other men had to do predominantly with their rank and wealth — aspects that she knows attract her and that she knows she has the power to easily negotiate to gain more attention. As in the poem “On Desire,” these inclinations are not fanned to flame in the appropriate partner but fire up for an incompatible lover. Her object of desire, Friar Francisco, has taken vows of celibacy and poverty so to love him is inappropriate, even illicit: the burning inspired in her by “Love’s darts” makes her desire where she normally would not. Similarly to the speaker of “On Desire,” she loves but “knows not why.” Desire, for Behn, embodies these kinds of contradictions; it flames up in unprotected hearts for arbitrary reasons.

The story of Friar Francisco, who was born as Prince Henrick, reinforces the Galenic model of sexual understanding. In this inset narrative, Miranda’s admiration for the physical beauties of the friar evolves into burning passion. The friar’s history, which explains his retreat to the Order of St. Francis and his name change after his terrible disappointment in love, upholds Galenic theories and reiterates the truth of Galenic vital heat. The metaphors of flaming desire belong to his elder brother, who loves Henrick’s sweetheart and manipulates the situation to deceive his brother, marry her, and then attempt to murder him. This elder brother is the “Hot-headed,” dry male, “a Youth amorous and fierce, impatient of Joys, and sensible of Beauty, taking Fire with all fair Eyes.”[36] His heat is evident through his eyes, as in the piercing rays from Lysander’s eyes in “On Desire.” The illicitness of the elder brother’s desires is evident in the increased use of fire images to describe his desire for Henrick’s beloved. Henrick, who has already made vows to this maiden (who loves him back), pleads with his brother to leave her alone, but “All his Pleading serv’d but to blow his Brother’s Flame; and the more he implores, the more the other burns.”[37] The less sanctioned the desire, the more unruly the flame burns. Prince Henrick’s story reinforces such a reading of gendered passions — the hot and dry brother, as the eldest son and heir, is the more perfect male and dominates the plot with his passions. Logically, then, once his lover is married to his brother, Henrick’s passions for her are described as illicit flames — now that she is considered his sister, his love for her is incestuous and forbidden, her “Honour cou’d never permit her to ease any part of his Flame. … He now beheld her as his Brother’s Wife, and that secured his Flame from all loose Desires.”[38] Henrick’s love for his mistress is now unnatural, illicit, and inappropriate; he must remove to a monastery as a way to dampen his passion, though Behn’s ethics determine that controlling illicit passion is impossible, thus the manifestation of metaphors of flame.

The story goes on to invert these assumptions and creates a hot and dry female and a cool and wet male — that is, Behn places the “vital heat” in the female character. Enflamed with the hot, dry, burning passion of fire for Friar Francisco, Miranda thinks about how obsessed he must still be with his lost princess but decides her charms will be enough to seduce him regardless: “[S]he believ’d Henrick wou’d be glad, at least, to quench that Flame in himself, by an Amour with her, which was kindl’d by the young Princess of — his Sister.”[39] Believing that Francisco shares her desire, she reasons that she can seduce him and ease the pain of losing his beloved. She allows her own flames to feed on these ideas and “every Day she took new Fire from his lovely Eyes. … She burnt, she languish’d, and dy’d for the young Innocent.”[40] The thought that he desires her fuels her own feelings. As her raging passion reaches a feverish pitch, she attempts to seduce him with letters, and “’Twas there her raging Love made her say all things that discover’d the nature of its Flame, and propose to flee with him to any part of the World, if he wou’d quit the Convent.”[41]

Critics have remarked on how the gender roles are reversed; Miranda is an aggressive seducer and Francisco is an unwilling seducee. Robert A. Erickson has argued that Miranda acts the role of the Restoration libertine, inverting language, body heat, and seductive energy from the masculine, a trope that he sees established in what he calls the “poetics of ecstasy.” Erickson notes that “[t]he metaphor of erotic fire and flame plays all through the confession scene, Lucretian fire projected from his eyes and face into her whole sensibility. But she is the ravisher and predator.”[42] In this configuration, Francisco and Miranda demonstrate the gendered reversal of the Galenic understanding of vital heat. Behn places Francisco on the female continuum and Miranda on the male. But considering the character of Francisco/Henrick, this is not surprising. The narrator describes Henrick early in the text as having “a lovely Shape” with “delicate Hands” and “Beauty of Face,” feminized and objectified descriptions.[43] And the inset narrative explains how Henrick lacks vital heat, evidenced in losing his mistress to his more flammable brother.

Miranda doesn’t understand this reversal; rather she thinks, at least at first, that the flaming passion is mutual, moving between them, coming from his eyes, burning riotously within her body. Only when his coolness attempts to counteract her flame does the extent to which the gender roles have reversed become obvious. With the fact that Francisco is uninterested in her as a sexual partner, we see the reversal of the Galenic model occurring; he coldly ignores Miranda, hoping to dampen her passion. But it is unsuccessful, as most persecuted maiden stories are: “This cold Neglect was still Oil to the burning Lamp, and she tries yet more Arts.”[44] Her heat and flame are unaffected by his femininity and coolness. She is fired all the more, and she finally confesses to him her burning passion, placing the “blame” of her desire on his disinterestedness. She writes:

I love with a Violence which cannot be contain’d within the Bounds of Reason, Moderation, or Vertue. … Nothing opposes our Happiness, or makes my Love a Vice, but you: —  ’Tis you deny me Life: ’Tis you that forbids my Flame: ’Tis you will have me die, and seek my Remedy in my Grave, when I complain of Tortures, Wounds and Flames.[45]

He cannot return her affections and instead offers his cool friendship, which makes her even hotter: “She swells with Pride, Love, Indignation and Desire; her burning Heart is bursting with Despair, her Eyes grow fierce, and from Grief, she rises to a Storm; and in her Agony of Passion, which looks all disdainful, haughty, and full of Rage, she began to revile him.” Miranda becomes a conflagration, and while Francisco refuses to be consumed in consummation, she burns him nonetheless. She pulls Francisco on top of her, cries rape, and he consequently is placed “in Prison, in a dark and dismal Dungeon,”[46] in a cool, damp place. Friar Francisco becomes like the hapless nymphs in “To Alexis” who have learned a “fatal lesson”; he is consumed by Miranda, and she moves on: “Miranda, cured of her Love, was triumphing in her Revenge, expecting, and daily gaining new Conquests.”[47] The narrative then turns to her marriage with Prince Tarquin, loved for his “Quality” and riches, whom she also dominates and destroys; but the language of that relationship is not described in metaphors of flame — it is a deeply problematic relationship but not one that burns with unruly, illicit desire.

The metaphor of flame in amatory ethics is specific to socially illicit and inappropriate desire but desire that is nonetheless significant to human experience. Eighteenth-century standards of the novel emphasize the morality of the heroine, a morality that comes about through coolness, passivity, and the cultivation of honorable and virtuous desires, which in turn becomes the model for modern subjectivity (the most demonstrative of these cold heroines is probably Samuel Johnson’s Clarissa). But Behn, writing at the end of the Restoration, emphasizes subjectivity through sexual desire. Behn’s amatory ethics defines female desire as aware, powerful, and bound in knowledge of the self as much as it is a shorthand for unruly desire. The use of fire as metaphor for illicit love is necessary in the creation of Miranda’s character as a libertine subject. She complicates notions of gendered desire by reversing expectations of desire and flame, which in turn heightens the danger of illegitimate desires. The language of fire makes Miranda a subject who desires, rather than an object of desire, and helps to create a vocabulary for fiery women characters who do not conform to expectations of morally clean and cool heroines in the novels of the later eighteenth century. end of article


  1. Aphra Behn, The Fair Jilt, or, the History of Prince Tarquin and Miranda, in The Works of Aphra Behn, ed. Janet Todd (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1993), 3:14. ↩

  2. Patricia Meyers Spacks, Desire and Truth: Functions of Plot in Eighteenth-Century English Novels. (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990), 33. ↩

  3. Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 5. ↩

  4. Kathleen Lubey, “Eliza Haywood’s Amatory Aesthetic,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 39, no. 3 (2006): 321. ↩

  5. By “passions” I am referring to a system of emotional experience, regulation, and even physical health that was prevalent in theories of feeling through the early modern period in Western Europe. ↩

  6. See Aleksondra Hultquist, “Haywood’s Progress through the Passions,” in Passions, Sympathy and Print Culture: Public Opinion and Emotional Authenticity in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. Heather Kerr, David Lemmings, and Robert Phiddian (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 116–41. ↩

  7. Amatory fiction — a prose genre developed between 1680 and 1740 in Britain and epitomized by females such as Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, Jane Barker, Eliza Haywood, Penelope Aubin, and Mary Davys — follows the (often failed) seduction story of a (usually) female protagonist. See Ros Ballaster, Seductive Forms: Women’s Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) and Toni Bowers, Force or Fraud: British Seduction Stories and the Problem of Resistance 1660–1760 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). ↩

  8. Additional works that discuss The Fair Jilt include the following: Maureen Duffy, The Passionate Shepherdess: Aphra Behn 1640–89 (London: Methuan, 1989); Susanne Fendler, “Intertwining Literary Histories: Women’s Contribution to the Rise of the Novel,” in Feminist Contributions to the Literary Canon: Setting Standards of Taste, ed. Susanne Fendler (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997), 31–64; James Fitzmaurice, “The Narrator in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt,” Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik: A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture 42, no. 2 (1994): 131–38; J. P. Vander Motten and Rene Vermeir, “‘Reality, and Matter of Fact’: Text and Context in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt,” The Review of English Studies 66, no. 274 (2015): 280–299; Margerita Rivas, “The Knight, the Lady and the Court; Or, the Romance Influence in Aphra Behn’s The Fair Jilt,” in Le modèle Européen, ed. Mary Ann O’Donnelland Bernard Dhuicq (Entrevaux, Fr.: Bilingua, 2005), 52–56; and Janet Todd, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing, and Fiction 1660–1800 (London: Virago, 1989). ↩

  9. Jacqueline Pearson, “The Short Fiction (Excluding Oroonoko),” in The Cambridge Companion to Aphra Behn, ed. Derek Hughes and Janet Todd (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 197, 198. ↩

  10. Aphra Behn, The Rover, or the Banish’d Cavaliers, in The Works of Aphra Behn, ed. Janet Todd (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1993), 5:446–522, act II, sc. ii. ↩

  11. Ibid., act V, sc. i. ↩

  12. Aphra Behn, “On Desire,” in The Works of Aphra Behn, ed. Janet Todd (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1993), 1:281–84, lines 58–59, 64–66. ↩

  13. Ibid., line 37. ↩

  14. Ibid., lines 77–80. ↩

  15. Ibid., lines 89–94. ↩

  16. Ibid., lines 107–110. ↩

  17. Ibid., lines 111–112. ↩

  18. Timothy Hampton, “Strange Alteration: Physiology and Psychology from Galen to Rabelais,” in Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion, ed. Gail Kern Paster, Katherine Rowe, and Mary Floyd-Wilson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), 286. ↩

  19. Michael C. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert and Milton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 2. ↩

  20. Hampton, “Strange Alteration,” 276–277. See also Devon Wallace, “Neuroscience and Galen: Body, Selfhood and the Materiality of Emotions on the Early Modern Stage” (Ph.D. thesis, Loyola University Chicago, 2014); see esp. pages 10–15, which describe early modern connections between the humors and emotions. ↩

  21. Aphra Behn, “To Alexis in Answer to His Poem against Fruition,” in The Works of Aphra Behn, ed. Janet Todd (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1993) 1:272–73, lines 1–7. ↩

  22. Ibid., lines 29–31. ↩

  23. Ibid., lines 39, 38. ↩

  24. Ibid., line 37. ↩

  25. The plot of The Fair Jilt “concerns a young noble woman, who has taken a religious vow for a limited time and lives in a convent. … [S]he does not lead a quiet life, but receives visitors, mostly men, who all adore her for her beauty. She, however, falls in love with a monk, a prince by birth, who took orders out of [devastating disappointment in] love. Furious at being rejected, Miranda accuses him of having attempted to seduce her and has him committed to prison. She then marries the rich Prince Tarquin. Owing to their extravagance, they have soon spent both their fortunes. Miranda determines to have her younger sister murdered in order to obtain her inheritance. She convinces one of her admirers and her husband to carry out her wish, but both fail, [and both are sentenced to death. Her admirer is executed, and] Tarquin is pardoned after his executioner fails to kill him. Miranda has saved herself by confessing all and thereby has also released the Friar.” Fendler, “Intertwining Literary Histories,” 37–38. ↩

  26. William Reddy, The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia and Japan, 900–1200 CE (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 1. ↩

  27. Behn, Fair Jilt, 9. ↩

  28. Ibid., 9, 12. ↩

  29. Ibid., 9. ↩

  30. Ibid., 9. ↩

  31. Behn, “To Alexis,” line 3. ↩

  32. Behn, Fair Jilt, 8. ↩

  33. Ibid., 11. ↩

  34. Ibid., 12. ↩

  35. Ibid., 12. ↩

  36. Ibid., 14, 13. ↩

  37. Ibid., 14. ↩

  38. Ibid., 16–17. ↩

  39. Ibid., 19. ↩

  40. Ibid., 19. ↩

  41. Ibid., 20. ↩

  42. Robert A. Erickson, “Milton and the Poetics of Ecstasy in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Fiction,” in A Companion to the Eighteenth-Century English Novel and Culture, ed. Paula A. Backscheider and Catherine Ingrassia (Oxford: Blackwell, 2005), 126. ↩

  43. Behn, Fair Jilt, 12. ↩

  44. Ibid., 21. ↩

  45. Ibid., 22. ↩

  46. Ibid., 27. ↩

  47. Ibid., 27. ↩