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 Haywood examines the formal and ideological complexities of her prose and demonstrates how Haywood's texts deft traditional schematization.
"After reading the professionally written essays that provide both historically based analysis and close readings of single texts, we see Eliza Haywood in a different light." -- East-Central Intelligencer
"The editors approach Haywood from a number of theoretical positions, leading the way in a crucial re-examination of her work." -- Educational Book Review
"The publication of this welcome volume of essays marks a pivotal moment in Haywood scholarship.... Much in the collection will make a decisive contribution." -- Eighteenth-Century Fiction
"Serves to confirm the increasingly canonical status of Haywood." -- Eighteenth-Century Studies
"Saxton and Bocchicchio deserve congratulations and applause for their initiative in putting together this long-needed collection of critical essays on Eliza Haywood. The great strength of the collection is its range. It will be welcomed as an extremely important contribution by a large and varied community of scholars and critics." -- Jerry C. Beasley
"Provides an excellent comprehensive variety of approaches to the work of Eliza Haywood, whose novels and writing have in the past few years come to be essentially canonical." -- Martha Bowden
"Marks a new stage in Haywood criticism.... The Haywood that emerges from this collection is as varied and complex as the different approaches now being taken to her work." -- Review of English Studies
"Will be required reading not just for students of eighteenth-century literature but also for feminist critics and historians of the novel." -- Sandra M. Gilbert
"The deliberative and complex Haywood who emerges from this collection is a welcome advance over earlier images of a lightweight hack driven by market forces." -- Studies in the Novel