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Eliza Haywood (1693-1756) was on of the most successful writers of her time; indeed, the two most popular English novels in the early eighteenth-century were Robinson Crusoe and Haywood's first novel, Love in Excess. As this edition enables modern readers to discover, its enormous success is easy to understand. Love in Excess is a well crafted novel in which the claims of love and ambition are pursued through multiple storylines until the heroine engineers a melodramatic conclusion.
Haywood's frankness about female sexuality may explain the later neglect of Love in Excess. (In contrast, her accomplished domestic novel, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, has remained available.) Love in Excess and its reception provide a lively and valuable record of the challenge that female desire posed to social decorum.
For the second Broadview edition, the appendix of eighteenth-century responses to Haywood has been considerably expanded.
Eliza Haywood: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
Love in Excess; or, The Fatal Enquiry
Part the First
Part the Second
The Third and Last Part
Appendix: Some Eighteenth-Century Responses to Eliza Haywood
1. Anonymous - "Verses Wrote in the Blank Leaf of Mrs. Haywood's Novel" (1722)
2. Richard Savage - To Mrs. Eliza Haywood, on Her Novel, called the Rash Resolve (1742) - From The Authors of the Town; A Satire (1725)
3. Anonymous letter from The Ladies Journal - ( Dublin, 1727)
4. Jonathan Swift - Corinna (1728)
5. Alexander Pope - From The Dunciad, Variorum. With the Prolegomena of Scriblerus (1729)
6. James Sterling - To Mrs. Eliza Haywood on Her Writings (1732)
7. William Rufus Chetwood - From A General History of the Stage; (More Particularly the Irish Theatre) From its Origin in Greece down to the Present Time. With the Memoirs of the Principlal Performers, that have appeared on the Dublin Stage in the Last Fifty Years (Dublin, 1749)
8. David Erskine Baker - From Biographica Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse (1764)
9. Clara Reeve - From The Progress of Romance, through Times, Countries, Manners; with remarks on the Good and Bad effects of It, Conversations, “Evening VII” (1785)
I bought this book because I heard it was one of the "best sellers" of its times (Robinson Curusoe was the other). So what can I say about it? It is much like the best sellers of our times. This is Stephanie Laurens in the 18th century. The thing that differentiates it, I suppose, is it was the first of its kind. Not that I am knocking romance novels-I like them as much as the next person and they can be well written and entertaining. I just mention it because if you buy this thinking it is in the same league as Jane Austen, Frances Burney, etc. you may be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.