Journal Article

Eliza Haywood, Savage Love, and Biographical Uncertainty

Kathryn R. King

in The Review of English Studies

Volume 59, issue 242, pages 722-739
Published in print November 2008 | ISSN: 0034-6551
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1471-6968 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/res/hgm110
Eliza Haywood, Savage Love, and Biographical Uncertainty

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The surmise that Eliza Haywood (1693?–1756) was the cast-off mistress of Richard Savage and mother of one (or two) bastard children by him is generally accepted by Haywood scholars. This speculation is, however, almost groundless; it grows out of a misunderstanding of the dynamics of the circle that gathered around Aaron Hill in the early 1720s. Coterie verse and satire produced by Savage, Haywood, Hill, and Martha Fowke Sansom suggest that it was not Savage but Hill who was the focus of erotic interest in the circle, and that Haywood was furious with both Sansom and Savage for their role in alienating the affections of Hill, whom she regarded as a mentor and collaborator in a poetry of the sublime. Too much of the Haywood biography as now understood is deformed by undue respect for the veracity of sexualising lampoons by the likes of Savage and Pope as well as the tendency to cast her as one of her own seduced and abandoned heroines.

Journal Article.  9487 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Postcolonial Literature) ; Literary Studies (American) ; Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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