Janet Todd (ed.), The Pickering Masters: The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. 3: The Fair Jilt and Other Short Stories

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pg 122AGNES DE CASTRO

Agnes de Castro, or, The Force of Generous Love may first have been published separately in 1688 and then reissued later in the same year as the final work in The Three Histories, following Oroonoko and The Fair Jilt. The Three Histories was printed for William Canning.

Agnes de Castro is a translation rather than an adaptation of Agnès de Castro, nouvelle portugaise published by Mademoiselle S. B. de Brillac in 1688. In the same year as the works by de Brillac and Behn, Peter Bellon issued The Fatal Beauty of Agnes de Castro, as one of Two New Novels. Behn's version of the story was used as the basis of Catherine Trotter's play Agnes de Castro in 1696.

The story of Ines de Castro is based on historical events dating from the fourteenth century in Portugal. Pedro, the son of Affonso IV and Beatrice of Castile, married Constanza Manuel in 1336 in order to forge an alliance with the Duke of Penafiel. Ines Pires de Castro was a lady-in-waiting to Pedro's wife and he quickly fell in love with her. Pedro had two children by his wife, Ferdinand, later King of Portugal and Maria, the future Queen of Arragon. Since his love for Ines de Castro was known throughout the court, Affonso feared for the future of his son's marriage and he banished Ines who retired to Albuquerque. After the death of Constanza Manuel, Pedro, refusing all other offers of marriage, established Ines in a country house outside Coimbra. She bore him several children. King Affonso, believing the relationship would allow Ines's brothers to seize power, had Ines murdered in 1355. When Pedro became king of Portugal he captured and executed two of the assassins, but a third escaped to England. In 1361, Ines was disinterred under the orders of Pedro. Her body was carried to the Convent of Alçobaça, crowned and then buried in state.

The tale of Ines de Castro inspired a wealth of Spanish and Portuguese literary works including Lope de Vega's Dona Inez de Castro, Antonio Ferreira's Comedias Famosas dos Doctores de Sa pg 123de Mirande (1622) and a famous passage of Camoëns Lusiads (Canto iii, 118–135). Throughout the eighteenth century, the story remained a favourite of dramatists. The extensive series of literary works retelling the story of Ines de Castro has been itemized in J. de Araujo's Ignês de Castro. Notas de bibliographia (1897).

The dedicatee Sir Roger Puleston of Emral was the son of a Parliamentarian and was strictly raised as a Calvinist. He became a Royalist and was involved in the insurrection against Parliament of Sir George Booth which took place in various regions of England, especially Lancashire and the borders of Cheshire in the north and Kent and Surrey in the south. Puleston was married and had two children.

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