Jacobite Ideology and Eliza Haywood’s Response to Whig Realism

  • Rachel Carnell


Although an immensely popular author in her own time and a remarkably inventive narrative stylist who helped shape novelistic writing throughout the eighteenth century,1 Eliza Haywood (c. 1693–1756) fell from favor in the nineteenth century, in part because her works were judged licentious.2 Her early twentiethcentury biographer only contributed to her fallen reputation by conflating the scandalous romances of her early writings with the story of her own life.3 The perception of her as a writer of licentious romance ultimately helped to define her as both apolitical and unimportant to the development of the “realistic” novel. In order to correct both of these common misapprehensions of Haywood’s work, I believe that we must understand the specific political discourses that shaped the Tory and Jacobite versions of realism that she authored.


Male Character Political Loyalty Narrative Persona Title Page Romance Convention 
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  1. 1.
    See Dale Spender’s comment that “Eliza Haywood was among the first with every experiment [of every genre of novel], and among the few who could claim success” (Mothers of the Novel, 81). Although Haywood is not yet universally recognized as an innovator, many of the works that Haywood is supposed to have imitated are in fact chronologically subsequent to her original versions, as Paula Backscheider has noted. The damage wrought by Haywood’s continuing exclusion from literary history is considerable; Backscheider observes, “No wonder the history of the novel is in disarray.” See “The Shadow of an Author: Eliza Haywood,” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 11:1 (October 1998): 102. Backscheider reminds us that The Fortunate Foundlings (1744) precedes both “Fielding’s own foundling story” and “Richardson’s greatest exploration of class and gender politics” (102).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    George Whicher blurs the distinction between her life and her romances in his biography of her, thus making it difficult to take her seriously as a novelist. See The Life and Romances of Mrs. Eliza Haywood (New York: Columbia University Press, 1915).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    In elucidating amatory fiction’s relationship to party politics, Ros Ballaster delineates the obvious satire of the South Sea Bubble in Haywood’s Memoirs of a Certain Island Adjacent to the Kingdom of Utopia (1727) and Haywood’s anti-Walpole stance in The Adventures of Eovaai (1736). See Seductive Forms, 153–62. More recently, Ballaster has expanded her analysis of Haywood’s partisan politics in “A Gender of Opposition: Eliza Haywood’s Scandal Fiction,” in Passionate Fictions, ed. Saxton and Bocchicchio, 143–67. For all their focus on social history, Helene Koon, in “Eliza Haywood and the Female Spectator,” Huntington Library Quarterly 42:1 (Winter 1978): 43–55, and Deborah Nestor, in “Representing Domestic Difficulties: Eliza Haywood and the Critique of Bourgeois Ideology,” Prose Studies 16:2 (August 1993): 1–26, overlook the specific political allusions in Haywood’s The Female Spectator. Catherine Ingrassia’s observations in “Additional Information about Eliza Haywood’s 1749 Arrest for Seditious Libel” establish the need for broader recognition of Haywood as “producer and distributor of surprisingly political texts in a heretofore unrecognized way.” See Notes and Queries 242:2 (June 1997): 202. Ingrassia’s Authorship, Commerce, and Gender in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Culture of Paper Credit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) further elaborates the way that Haywood negotiates the “fundamental generic instabilities that characterize this literary period—was fiction ‘political’? was political writing ‘fictional’?” (125).Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    Both Earla Wilputte in her editorial comments to the Broadview edition of Eovaai and Paula Backscheider in “The Shadow of an Author” link Eovaai’s anti-Walpole position to Haywood’s support for Frederick. See Backscheider’s “Shadow of an Author”: 93–95 (see note 1 above); Eliza Haywood Adventures of Eovaai, Princess of Ijaveao: A Pre-Adamitical History, ed. Earla Wilputte (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1999). Acknowledging the iconographic links to Bolingbroke that Elizabeth Kubek traces in “The Key to Stowe: Towards a Patriot Whig reading of Eliza Haywood’s Eovaai,” in Presenting Gender: Sex Change in Early-Modern Culture, Chris Mounsey, ed., 225–54, Paula Backscheider traces interesting splits and fissures in the Bolingbroke camp as well as a fascination with Frederick among some of its members. However, even should we assume a frustration with James Edward Stuart in the 1730s, this did not prevent Haywood taking up the Jacobite cause again more directly during the 1740s, when Charles Edward Stuart became a rallying figure for his father’s long disaffected supporters. Correcting her earlier discounting of Haywood’s partisan position, Ros Ballaster also seems to think that Adelhu is more likely to represent Frederick observing that “Haywood appears to have been attracted to the cause of Frederick in the 1730s and reverted to a Jacobite position in the subsequent decade.” See “A Gender of Opposition: Eliza Haywood’s Scandal Fiction,” in The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood, ed. Saxton and Bocchicchio, 154; 166 n. 19.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Murray G. H. Pittock, Inventing and Resisting Britain: Cultural Identities in Britain and Ireland, 1685–1789 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997), 58.Google Scholar
  6. 35.
    Dalinda marks the first of Haywood’s works to be mentioned by The Monthly Review, as the periodical only came into existence in 1749, but it is only accorded only cursory and condescending acknowledgment. The brief mention is included after a heading that already acknowledges that while the editors will “register all the new Things, in general, without exception to any, on account of their lowness of rank, or price,” although they anticipate that it would “prove disagreeable to many of our readers” to provide too much detail about the texts that they deem below their readers’ notice (238). Accordingly, Dalinda is reduced simply to “the affair betwixt Mr. Cresswell and Miss Scrope, thrown into the form of a novel.” Although the Review discounts Haywood’s other plots for not being adequately true to life, it is clear that a fictional account of a “true to life” scandal chronicle does not satisfy its reviewers either. See The Monthly Review 1 (December 1749): 238.Google Scholar
  7. 36.
    Five English editions appears in the first two and a half decades, as well as editions in Dutch, French, German, and Swedish; the novel was then included in volume 13 of The Novelist’s Magazine (1780–89). See Patrick Spedding A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2004), 529–67.Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    See William McCarthy and Elizabeth Kraft’s correction the late twentieth-century assumption that Barbauld and Wollstonecraft represented opposite positions in matters of politics and attitudes toward gender roles in their introduction to Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry & Prose, 28–30 (See note 36 to chapter 1).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    William Warner provides a superb overview and analysis of this type of canon-influencing essay from Clara Reeve’s Progress of Romance (1785) to Watt’s Rise of the Novel (1957) in Licensing Entertainment, 14–36.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Robert Burns reworked many Jacobite songs for James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum (1787–1803); such songs would therefore have become better known outside of Scotland in a de-politicized and romanticized context, a half-century after the last significant Jacobite attempt on the throne.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Barbauld, An Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts (1790), reprinted in Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry & Prose, 269–70.Google Scholar

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© Rachel Carnell 2006

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  • Rachel Carnell

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