Authorial Self-Fashionings: Eliza Haywood in Text, Image, and Performance

Date created: 
Betty Schellenberg
Arts & Social Sciences:
Eighteenth-century female authorship
Eliza Haywood
Fashioning authorship
Amatory fiction
Print culture
Secret history
Printers’ ornaments

Answering recent calls in Haywood scholarship for a re-evaluation of the ways in which we understand Haywood’s life and work, this dissertation offers one such re-evaluation through the lens of authorship, particularly authorial self-fashioning. Approaching the career of eighteenth-century author Eliza Haywood from the methodological standpoint of authorship and print culture studies, I analyze Haywood’s career through the lens of her self-representations in text, image, and performance. Through a consideration of sustained themes and genre elements of Haywood’s oeuvre, I focus on a range of self-fashionings found in Haywood’s texts. These form the bases of chapters on her career-long interest in amatory fiction, her use of paratext as collaboration in the world of the 1730s theatre, and her frequent creation of authorial personae. I also examine visual representations of Haywood, including portraits, printers’ ornaments, and frontispieces, and suggest that these visual representations are essential for understanding how Haywood and her publishers built and maintained her authorial image. An analysis of these representations of Eliza Haywood’s brand of authorship also reveals how she uses authorial assertions to shed light on issues she found important, such as female education and the prevention of sexual violence. These representations illustrate the embedded nature of Haywood’s career in the literary and theatrical milieus of the early eighteenth century, and her position as a woman who was both self-conscious of her authorship and aware of its ability to effect change. This in turn demonstrates the complex interaction between self-fashioning and the context of literary production in shaping the eighteenth-century author.

Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Document type: 
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