Realism In Eliza Haywood

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Abstract: Eliza Haywood, writing in the early eighteenth century English literary and cultural space provided a new concept of womanhood and femininity through her amatory works. The amatory novella, a novelistic subgenre, popularized by the women writers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century England, foregrounded excessive emotion and passion in contrast to the contemporary male writings which dealt with realism in both the theme and technique of representation. Eliza Haywood not only provided a counter tradition to the mainstream male tradition of writing realistic, matter-of-fact fictions through her sensational, erotic prose fictions but raised a strong antipatriarchal voice through the female protagonists of her novellas. As a writer she exploited the trauma and suffering that the female…show more content…
Greatly influenced by the French nouvellas and romances of the seventeenth century, Haywood’s amatory novellas foregrounded sentimentalism, eroticism, fantasy in contrast to the moral, realistic and rational mode of the male tradition. Backscheider and Richetti observed that if “social observation” and “psychological depth” are considered the markers of modern novel it was introduced in the prose fictions, long before Richardson and Fielding legitimized it, through the writings of the women amatory novelists such as Aphra Behn, Manley, Haywood, Aubin (Backscheider x). Dr. Johnson’s definition of novel as ‘a small tale generally of love’ is best suited to the amatory fictions which catered the public demand for fictions which would be “shorter, less stylized, immediately appealing to a wider range of taste, more practical and affordable” (Backscheider xi). Thus, the amatory novellas introduced the formula of modern mass market fiction in eighteenth century

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