Journal of the Month>Aphra

I would have never heard of Aphra except that we had a near shelving crisis in the A’s.  Too many journals; too few shelves.   Our small 3-volume run of Aphra: the Feminist Literary Magazine landed on the shelves of my office.  As I debated the precarious future of our small run of Aphra, I noted that when it was published, in the 1970s, a library could subscribe to Aphra for a mere $5.50 per year.

Why is Aphra so important? According to the Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature’s article on Women’s Magazines:

From 1969 to 1976 the high standards of Aphra, named for the 17th-century playwright and novelist Aphra Behn and edited by dramatist and novelist Elizabeth Fisher, suited the first feminist literary journal. The makeup served an audience eager for creative writing as well as critical articles on the arts and society. Among the contributors were the playwright Myrna Lamb, author of the satiric Mod Donna (1970) and Apple Pie (1976); the novelists Marge Piercy and Rita Mae Brown; the theorist Kate Millet; and the poets Andre Lorde and Adrienne Rich.  The magazine serialized the playwright Dacia Maraini’s Manifesto from 1972 to 1973 and, in summer 1974, Daphe Patai’s essay “Utopia for Whom?”

Murphy Library holds v.3(1971)-v.5(1974), v.6:no.3-4(1976) of this important feminist title.  To learn more about feminist literature, the Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature is available in the reference section at PN471 .W455 2004


April 27, 2011. Journal of the Month, News.

One Comment

  1. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan replied:

    It is delightful to hear that you unearthed these wonderful gems! I wrote a couple of critical essays for Aphra, as well as a poem, back in the late sixties and early seventies. I served on the editorial board for two or three years. At the time, this was a noble and bold step – starting a literary magazine for women! Elizabeth FIsher, who became a friend and mentor to me in those years, is to be credited for her vision and work in carrying out that vision to bring women out of the dark and into light.

    Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

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