John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester: Satirist, Poet, and Libertine

And reblogged just for the joy of Master Wilmot’s internal monkey!

Dirty, Sexy History

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Portrait by Sir Peter Lely.

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, was a Restoration courtier, poet, satirist, and libertine. He was lauded by Andrew Marvell and Voltaire, who described him as a man of genius and translated some of his work into French. Entertaining and offending with works such as Signior Dildo and Panegyrick Upon Cundums, his life was no less exciting than his verse. He inherited his title at age eleven, kidnapped his future wife at seventeen, trained one of the period’s most famous actresses, and fell in and out of the King’s favor until his death from syphilis at age thirty-three. A rake and accomplished wit, his actions and works would impress and offend in equal measure for centuries to come, and he even received the compliment of being banned in the Victorian period. 

So who was he? 

Were I (who…

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Gay Icon, Intriguer, Author, Adventuress: The Many Lives of Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn. Neither as dirty nor as sexy as I think she’d have us believe…on grounds it’d get in the way of working.

Dirty, Sexy History

Aphra_Behn

Bit of a mystery, is Aphra – who says that the reinvention of one’s past is an activity reserved to Hollywood starlets?

She kept her early years a closely-guarded secret.

The Histories And Novels of the Late Ingenious Mrs. Behn (1696) states that she was born to Bartholomew Johnson, a barber, and Elizabeth Denham, a wet-nurse. (That story recurs, as a contemporary, Anne Finch, wrote that she was born in Wye in Kent, the “Daughter to a Barber”) However, a contemporary essay by the unidentified “One of the Fair Sex” maintains that Aphra was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson of nearby Canterbury. Johnson was a gentleman related to Lord Willoughby, who appointed him lieutenant-general of Surinam, for which Willoughby was the royal patentee.

Whether Aphra was Johnson’s by-blow or fostered by him is not known, but what has been established with reasonable certainty was that in 1663…

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