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The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood

The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood: Essays on Her Life and Work

Kirsten T. Saxton
Rebecca P. Bocchicchio
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: 1
Pages: 378
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    The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood
    Book Description:

    The most prolific woman writer of the eighteenth century, Eliza Haywood (1693-1756?) was a key player in the history of the English novel. Along with her contemporary Defoe, she did more than any other writer to create a market for fiction prior to the emergence of Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett.

    Also one of Augustan England's most popular authors, Haywood came to fame in 1719 with the publication of her first novel,Love in Excess. In addition to writing fiction, she was a playwright, translator, bookseller, actress, theater critic, and editor of The Female Spectator, the first English periodical written by women for women. Though tremendously popular, her novels and plays from the 1720s and 30s scandalized the reading public with explicit portrayals of female sexuality and led others to call her "the Great Arbitress of Passion."

    Essays in this collection explore themes such as the connections between Haywood's early and late work, her experiments with the form of the novel, her involvement in party politics, her use of myth and plot devices, and her intense interest in the imbalance of power between men and women. Distinguished scholars such as Paula Backschieder, Felicity Nussbaum, and John Richetti approach Haywood from a number of theoretical and topical positions, leading the way in a crucial reexamination of her work.The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywoodexamines the formal and ideological complexities of her prose and demonstrates how Haywood's texts deft traditional schematization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4763-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Kirsten T. Saxton

    I first read Eliza Haywood on creaky microfilm machines when I became interested in learning more about Restoration and Augustan women prose writers. Spurred by a love of Aphra Behn, I was determined to track down references I had seen to this other, even more obscure author, Eliza Haywood, referred to as “the Great Arbitress of Passion,” an epithet that tantalized me. I moved eventually from microfilm to rare book rooms, and to the few extant modern editions of her work I could find, eagerly poring overFantomina, Betsy Thoughtless,andThe City Jilt.Now we can read Haywood in...

  6. The Story of Eliza Haywood’s Novels: Caveats and Questions
    (pp. 19-47)
    Paula R. Backscheider

    At least since Clara Reeve’sProgress of Romance(1785), The Story has been that, for purely commercial reasons, Eliza Haywood “reformed” and became a moral novelist. “Quite simply,” Ros Ballaster writes, “by the mid-century, Haywood could no longer make money by selling her short romances of passion.” Jane Spencer treats with ridicule Reeve’s assignment of the change in Haywood’s fiction to repentance, a “personal conversion,” and says the change was “no doubt made in response to a change in the literary market.” Cheryl Turner tells us that Haywood “caught the changing mood of her readership” in her “progress towards the...

  7. Collusive Resistance: Sexual Agency and Partisan Politics in Love in Excess
    (pp. 48-68)
    Toni Bowers

    Eliza Haywood’s phenomenally popular first novelLove in Excess(1719-20), like the works of amatory fiction that preceded it in Augustan England, functioned in its day as a powerful work of Tory partisan polemic. But that polemic takes shape quite differently inLove in Excessthan in the amatory fiction produced during Queen Anne’s reign (1702–14). Dominated by the work of Delarivier Manley, amatory writing under Anne had featured obviously partisan allegorical plots. Few Augustan readers encounteringThe New Atalantisin 1709, for instance, would have had difficulty recognizing in the characterization of “Fortunatus” Manley’s contempt for the first Duke...

  8. Masquing Desire: The Politics of Passion in Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina
    (pp. 69-94)
    Margaret Case Croskery

    The heroine of Eliza Haywood’sFantomina; or Love in a Maze(1725) indulges her sexual desires with remarkable freedom, creativity, and sensual enjoyment. Instead of insisting (as many eighteenth-century novels were wont to do) that “virtuous” women should repress their sexual desires, Haywood grants the heroine ofFantominathe same urgency of sexual desire that Restoration drama grants its rakes. Although many critics find Haywood’s characterization of the passionate woman problematic,Fantominaactually offers an alternative paradigm for understanding Haywood’s use of passion to explore the politics of seduction.

    Haywood’s popular fictions of the 1720s are often considered important primarily...

  9. “Blushing, Trembling, and Incapable of Defense”: The Hysterics of The British Recluse
    (pp. 95-114)
    Rebecca P. Bocchicchio

    The process of seduction is typically not easy on women in Eliza Haywood’s amatory novellas. Her heroines burn with passion for their would-be lovers; they pour out pages of fervid love letters; they vow never to see the men again. And then, at the point of actual seduction, something strange happens: suddenly their bodies refuse to obey the dictates of their modesty, their throats won’t let words of protest pass, their limbs fail to push away the aggressor, and the hapless heroines, half swooning and yet very aware of what is happening to their bodies, yield until “there is nothing...

  10. Telling Tales: Eliza Haywood and the Crimes of Seduction in The City Jilt, or, the Alderman turn’d Beau
    (pp. 115-142)
    Kirsten T. Saxton

    In her 1726 novelThe City Jilt,Haywood revises the familiar plot of female seduction and ruin to explore a plot of female vengeance and destruction. In this text, Haywood negotiates female anger and dispossession through a protagonist who slips outside the delimiting confines of heroine and harridan, virgin and whore, to emerge victorious and socially ambiguous. The novel differs from most eighteenth-century fiction in that, when its heroine’s reputation is ruined by a false seducer, its heroine is not utterly ruined as a result; Glicera’s lost innocence and her subsequent turn to deception and vengeance result neither in moral...

  11. A Gender of Opposition: Eliza Haywood’s Scandal Fiction
    (pp. 143-167)
    Ros Ballaster

    In 1992 I characterised Eliza Haywood’s early fiction as a retreat into “romance proper” from the “[t]he allegorical duplicity of scandal fiction, its complex double movement between the amatory and party political plot” that had been the distinguishing feature of the work of her female predecessors in “Tory” fictionalizing, Aphra Behn (The Love-Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister[1684–87]) and Delarivier Manley (The New Atalantis[1709] andMemoirs of Eu rope[1710]).¹ Haywood’s scandal fictions of the 1720s, I claimed, lacked the directness and oppositional definition that had made Manley’s work so influential and threatening in the campaign...

  12. “A Race of Angels”: Castration and Exoticism in Three Exotic Tales by Eliza Haywood
    (pp. 168-193)
    Jennifer Thorn

    Among the eight tales that comprise the prolific Eliza Haywood’s 1727 collectionThe Fruitless Enquiryis the fantastic “History of Montrano and Iseria,” which focuses on an adoring husband’s plea for readmission to happy domesticity after eight years absence in “some part of the Indies.” That which requires forgiveness is not Montrano’s long silence, not his mere absence. Rather, the obstacle to reunion is castration, the unhappy culmination of eight years’ refusal of the amorous advances of the queen whose captive slave he had been. Such husbandly loyalty is as unusual as castration in Haywood’s repertoire. Ironically, the one exception...

  13. Speechless: Haywood’s Deaf and Dumb Projector
    (pp. 194-216)
    Felicity A. Nussbaum

    In the early eighteenth century a cluster of publications, some of which have been falsely attributed to Daniel Defoe, centered on the life of Duncan Campbell, a deaf-mute secular prophet who flourished from 1710 to 1730. Campbell is the subject ofThe History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell, A Gentleman, who, tho’ Deaf and Dumb, writes down any Stranger’s Name at first Sight(1720);Mr. Campbell’s Packet, for the Entertainment of Gentlemen and Ladies(1720); Eliza Haywood’sA Spy upon the Conjuror(March 19, 1724) andThe Dumb Projector(1725);The Friendly Daemon; or the Generous...

  14. “Haywood,” Secret History, and the Politics of Attribution
    (pp. 217-239)
    David Brewer

    Tucked away in the second appendix toThe Dunciad Variorum(1729), amidst “A List of Books, Papers, and Verses, in which our Author was abused,” may be found a curious addition toourauthor’soeuvre.According to Pope, the anonymously publishedMemoirs of Lilliput(or, more accurately,Memoirs of the Court of Lilliput) are actually the work of “Mrs.Eliz. Haywood”(92), an attribution which implicitly provides Pope with yet another excuse for including Haywood among the Dunces in the poem proper.¹ Few twentieth-century Haywood scholars have accepted Pope’s attribution or even taken it particularly seriously. The founder of academic...

  15. Histories by Eliza Haywood and Henry Fielding: Imitation and Adaptation
    (pp. 240-258)
    John Richetti

    Haywood’s and Fielding’s careers intersected on the stage and on the page. A sometime actress, Haywood was among the players Fielding assembled in 1736–37 at the New Theater in the Haymarket in a company that performed, among other plays that year, a revival of his “Pasquin” and his new “The Historical Register for the Year 1736,” a harshly critical satire of the Walpole government, with its companion piece, the farce, “Eurydice Hiss’d, or, A Word to the Wise.” As Martin Battestin notes, Haywood must have forgiven Fielding for satirizing her as “Mrs. Novel” in “The Author’s Farce” in 1730...

  16. Shooting Blanks: Potency, Parody, and Eliza Haywood’s The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless
    (pp. 259-282)
    Andrea Austin

    Eliza Haywood’s abrupt transition from writing steamy, scandal novels to penning more decorous fiction after the phenomenal success of Richardson’sPamelahas often been characterized as a “mid-career conversion.”¹ To some, both contemporaries and more recent critics, Haywood has seemed a veritable reformed rake; to others, she has seemed a literary mercenary, able to adopt whatever viewpoint was most lucrative. Indeed, this image of Haywood as stopping and taking stock of her work points to some self-reflexive literary function, and yet the majority of criticism dealing withBetsy Thoughtless,the first of her novels in the new style, stops short...

  17. “Shady bowers! and purling streams!—Heavens, how insipid!”: Eliza Haywood’s Artful Pastoral
    (pp. 283-299)
    David Oakleaf

    By writing amatory fiction, Eliza Haywood fashioned herself a prominent place in the literary terrain. But when we survey the eighteenth century from the paths that offer the most flattering prospects of Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope, even Henry Fielding, Haywood barely emerges from the greater obscurity of Grub Street. “Despite great popularity and relevance in their day,” Toni Bowers suggests, “amatory fictions are now held in contempt. However interesting these texts may be as part of the Augustan cultural landscape, most critics still feel that they are simply not very good literature; their present value seems to be mainly...

  18. “What Ann Lang Read”: Eliza Haywood and Her Readers
    (pp. 300-325)
    Christine Blauch

    Ann Lang reminds us of a central dilemma within critical discourse that factors gender into the uneasy equations that balance assumptions about texts and their readers. Who was Ann Lang? We have a sole, slim fact from which to speculate: she read Eliza Haywood. This much we know from Edmund Gosse’s anecdotal account of stumbling across Ann Lang’s library, which consisted entirely of Haywood’s novels—“cheap novels” (161)—of the early 1720s. The real, historical Ann Lang, a woman reader who lived and undoubtedly died in the eighteenth century, does not emerge in Gosse’s essay; what survives instead is her...

  19. Works Cited
    (pp. 326-347)
  20. Contributors
    (pp. 348-350)
  21. Index
    (pp. 351-367)