Making a Virtue of Complicity: Haywood's Scandal Fiction

Toni Bowers

in Force or Fraud

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592135
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725340 | DOI:
Making a Virtue of Complicity: Haywood's Scandal Fiction

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This chapter demonstrates the role of Eliza Haywood's Love in Excess (1719–20) and several shorter works of amatory fiction including Lasselia (1723), The Lucky Rape (1727), and The Padlock (1728) within the early eighteenth‐century discursive struggle to define tory sensibility under the Whig government of George I. In these early fictions, Haywood explores the implications of the political, social and spiritual reorganizations her generation inherited, and suggests a revised way to value practices of unavoidable complicity. She constructs a new version of “collusive resistance,” a strategy for reconciling female virtue and sexual agency, that models a virtuous, tory‐oriented response to the political necessities of the early years of George I's reign, especially the implication of high‐level Tory ministers in Jacobite plots against the government and invasion scares in 1715 and 1718. This chapter argues that the great success of Love in Excess owed much to Haywood's ability to exploit and revise Behn's and Manley's earlier representational strategies for the 1720s.

Keywords: Eliza Haywood, Love in Excess (1719–20); Eliza Haywood, Lasselia (1723); Eliza Haywood, The Lucky Rape (1727); Eliza Haywood, The Padlock (1728); Eliza Haywood [attrib.], Dalinda (1749); Eliza Haywood, A Letter from H— G—, Esq. (1750); Delarivier Manley, The Perjur'd Beauty (1720); sexual agency; “collusive resistance”; tory sensibility; Jacobite plots

Chapter.  12910 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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