Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Eliza Haywood Biography, Texts, Links etc

[The 1725 portrait of Haywood by James Parmentier
as it appears on a recent work of scholarship]

[For Eliza Haywood Texts, Links etc, and criticism of the same, see here. For William Hatchett links see here.]

The Wikipedia entry is here.

Ruth Facer's Chawton House biography here.

George Frisbie Whicher's The Life and Romances of Mrs. Eliza Haywood (1915) is downloadable as text here; as a pdf here.

Contemporary and Early Biographical notices of Haywood

1747: [John Mottley], "Mrs. Eliza Heywood" in "A Compleat List of All the English Dramatic Poets, and all the plays ever Printed …", in Thomas Whincop, Scanderbeg, or Love and Liberty. A Tragedy (London: W. Reeve, 1747), 246.

  This Authoress is now living, and made eminent by several Novels, called Love in Excess, etc. wrote by her, which were much approved of by those who delight in that Sort of Reading and had a great Sale; she is likewise distinguished by Mr. Pope in his Dunciad, who proposes her as one of the Prizes to be run for, in the Games instituted in Honour of the Inauguration of the Monarch of Dulness. And the note upon that Passage says, "This woman was Authoress of those most scandalous Books, called The Court of Caramania, and The New Utopia, etc.   She has published two Dramatic Pieces.
  I. The Fair Captive; a Tragedy, aced in the Year 1721, at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, with no success.
  II. A Wife to be Let; a Comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal in Drury-Lane in the Year 1725, in the Summer-Season, in which the Author performed a Part herself, with little Success.
  Mrs Heywood was also concerned with another, one Mr. Hatchet, in turning Mr. Fielding's Tom Thumb into a Ballad Opera, which was set to Music and performed at the Little Theatre in the Hay-market, with good Success.


* * * * *

1749: William Rufus Chetwood, Mrs. Eliza Heywood in A General History of the Stage (1749), 57 note b (reprinted as The British Theatre (London, 1752), 171).


Mrs. Haywood has made herself eminent to the polite World by her writings; she is still alive. Her numerous Novels will be ever esteem'd by Lovers of that Sort of Amusement. She is likewise Authoress of three Dramatic Pieces … As the pen is her chief means of Subsistence, the World may find many Books of her Writing, tho' none have met with more Success than her Novels, more particularly her Love in Excess, [et cetera]. Her Dramatic Works have all died in their first visiting the World, being exhibited in very sickly Seasons for Poetry. Mr. Pope has taken her for his Goddess of Dulness in his Dunciad; but she need not blush in such good Company.

  ¶ This bibliographical part of this text reappeared here in Theatrical records: or, an account of English dramatic authors, and their works (London, 1756), 114; also here in An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber … With an Account of the Rise and Progress of the English Stage, 4th ed (London, 1756), 282.

* * * * *

1764: David Erskine Baker, "Mrs. Eliza Heywood" in The Companion to the Play House, 2 vols. (London, 1764), v.2, Q1r, col.1-Q1v, col.2.

Heywood, Mrs. Eliza.—This Lady was perhaps the most voluminous Female Writer this Kingdom ever produced.—Her Genius lay for the most Part in the Novel Kind of Writing.—In the early part of her Life her natural Vivacity; her Sex's constitutional Fondness for Gallantry, and the Passion which then prevailed in the public Taste for personal Scandal, and diving into the Intrigues of the Great, guided her Pen to Works in which a Scope was given for great Licentiousness.—The celebrated Atlantis of Mrs. Manley served her for a Model, and the Court of Caramania, the New Utopia, and some other Pieces of a like Nature, were the Copies her Genius produced.—Whether the Looseness of the Pieces themselves, or some more private Reasons, provoked the Resentment of Mr. Pope against her, I cannot pretend to determine; but certain it is, that that great Poet has [col.2] taken some Pains to perpetuate her Name to immortal Infamy; having, in his Dunciad, proposed her as one of the Prizes to be run for in Games instituted in the Honour of the Inauguration of the Monarch of Dulness.—This, however, I own I cannot readily subscribe; for, although I should be far from vindicating the Libertinism of her Subjects, or the exposing with Aggravation to the Public the private Errors of Individuals, yet I think it cannot be denied that there is great Spirit and Ingenuity in Mrs Heywood’s Manner of treating Subjects, which the Friends of Virtue may perhaps wish she had never entered on at all; and that in those of her Novels where personal Character has not been admitted to take Place, and where the Stories have been of there own Creation, such as her Love in Excess, Fruitless Enquiry, [etc]. she has given Proofs of great inventive Powers, and a perfect Knowledge of the Affections of the human Heart.—And thus much must be granted in her Favour, that whatever Liberty she might at first give to her Pen, to the Offence either of Morality or Delicacy, she seemed to be soon convinced of her Error, and determined not only to reform, but even atone for it; since, in the numerous Volumes which she gave to the World toward the latter Part of her Life, no Author has appeared more the Votary of Virtue, nor are there any Novels in which a stricter Purity, or a greater Delicacy of Sentiment, has been preserved.—It may not, perhaps, be disagreeable sn [sic] this Place to point out what these latter Works were, as they are very voluminous, and are not perfectly known to every one. They may, there- [Q1v, col.1] fore, tho' somewhat foreign to the Purport of this Work, be found in the following List, viz.
   The Female Spectator, 4 vol.
   Epistles for the Ladies, 2 vol.
   Fortunate Foundlings, 1 vol.
   Adventures of Nature, 1 vol.
   Hist. of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, 4 vol.
   Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy, 3 v.
   Invisible Spy, 2 vol.
   Husband and Wife, 2 vol.
and a Pamphlet, entitled,
   A Present for a Servant Maid.
When young she dabbled in dramatic Poetry; but with no great Success.—None of her plays either meeting with much Approbation at the first, nor having been admitted to Repetition since.—Their titles were as follows:
  1. Fair Captive. T.
  2. Frederick Duke of Brunswick Lunenburgh. T.
  3. Opera of Operas (joined with Mr. Hatchett).
  4. Wife to be Let. Com.
She had also an Inclination for the Stage as a Performer which appears from her having acted a principle Part in her own Comedy of the Wife to be let; and her Name standing in the Drama [sic] of a Tragedy, entitled, The Rival Father, written by Mr. Hatchet, a Gentleman with whom she appears to have had a close literary Intimacy.
  As to the Circumstances of Mrs. Heywood’s Life, very little Light seems to appear; for, though the World seem'd inclinable, probably induced by the general Tenor of her earlier Writings, to affix on her the Character of a Lady of Gallantry, yet I have never heard of any particular Intrigues or Connections directly laid to her Charge; and have been credibly informed that, from a Supposition of some improper Liberties being taken with her [col. 2] Character after Death, by the Intermixture of Truth and Falsehood with her History, she laid a solemn Injunction on a particular Person, who was well acquainted with all the Particulars of it, not to communicate to any one the least Circumstance relating to her; so that probably, unless some very ample Account should appear from that Quarter itself, whereby her Story may be placed in a true and favourable Light, the World will still be left in the dark with Regard to it.—All I have been able to learn is, that her Father was in the Mercantile Way; that she was born at London; and that at the Time of her Death, which was, I think, in 1759, she was sixty three Years of Age.
  With Respect to her Genius and Abilities, her Works, which are very numerous, must stand in Evidence: but I cannot help observing, as to her personal Character, that I was told by one who was well acquainted with her for many Years before her Close of Life, that she was good-natured, affable, lively, and entertaining; and that, whatever Errors she might in any Respect have run into in her youthful Days, she was, during the whole Course of his Knowledge of her, remarkable for the most rigid and scrupulous Decorum, Delicacy, and Prudence, both with Respect to her Conduct and Conversation.


  ¶ In 1782, this text was lightly revised for a new edition of Biographica Dramatica … continued from 1764 to 1782 (London, 1782), 1.215a–16b (see here), particularly the final two paragraphs which add a reference to her being “on the stage in Dublin in the year 1715” and correct her date of death (from “I think, in 1759” to “on the 25th of February 1756”).

  ¶ In 1812, the text was lightly revised a third time for another new edition of Biographica Dramatica … brought down to the End of November 1811 … by Stephen Jones, 3 vols. (London, 1812), 1.319-21 (see here). This final edit adds that the authority for “her personal character”—which concludes the biography—was a person “who was well acquainted with her for many years before her close of life” and “that probably, unless some very ample account [of her life] should appear from that quarter itself, whereby her story may be placed in a true and favourable light, the world will still be left in the dark with regard to it.”

* * * * *

1786: The Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq., A New Edition, with Notes [edited by Dr. John Calder and John Nichols from notes of Bishop Thomas Percy], 6 vols. (London: C. Bathurst [and 25 others], 1786), 1.367–69 (note to Vol. 1, p. 54: Tatler, no 6). This short biography appears to be the first publication of any biographical information, taken directly from manuscript letters in the British Museum.

It has been said, in a note on Tat. No 6. Vol. I. p. 54, that the real person alluded to there, and here, under the name of Sappho, was most probably Mrs. Elizabeth Heywood […]. Of this lady’s history, there is scarcely any thing in print, and now perhaps there is not much in remembrance. [368]
  The best account that has yet appeared of this lady, the curious may see, under her article, in the “Biogr. Dramatica,” Vol. I. p. 215, ed. 1782, 8vo. 2 vols. This annotator takes an opportunity here to add some particulars to it, on the authority of Mrs. E. Heywood herself, being extracts from three of her autograph undated letters to Dr. Birch, and Sir Hans Sloane, preserved in the British Museum.
  From one of these we learn, that this lady’s maiden name wat [sic] Fowler; that she was nearly related to Sir Richard of the Grange; that an unfortunate marriage reduced her to the necessity of depending on her pen, for the support of herself and two children, the eldest of them then no more than seven years of age. It appears that this undated letter, must have been written in the year 1721, for it accompanied the present of one of her unfortunate tragedies, the first of which made its appearance in that year. In another letter, presented with her translation of "La Belle AssemblĂ©e," after a profusion of compliments to her patron, sometimes not ill-turned, she mentions, likewise, the precarious condition of a person, whose only dependence is on the pen and makes use of the following words "The inclination I ever had for writing is now converted to a necessity, by the sudden deaths of a father and husband, at an age when I was little prepared to stem the tide of ill-fortune."
  The purpose of her third letter is, to request a subscription for some volumes of poems. "They are, she says, the productions of the best geniuses of the present age, and nothing will be contained in them, less becoming the closet of the philosopher and divine, than the fine gentleman." MSS. Birch, 4203, in folio, and MSS. Sloane, 4057.
  Mrs. Heywood was a ready, a various and an indefatigable writer; but scanty in common, and hard, is the bread that is earned with the pen. Pope, too, courted his Muse, to make it bitter: and bishop Warburton, out of compliment [369] to his friend, spit upon it. For all this, it or she might have been the better; whatever it was, we are told that she lived upon it, with good-humour and cheerfulness, to a considerable age; for, when she died in Feb. 1756, she was aged, it was said, about 63 years.
  This lady, in her youth, did not manage, it seems, with sufficient discretion to escape censure; but though she might have been imprudent, and betrayed into some false steps in that critical period, it does not appear that she was ever a person of dissolute manners, or a very vicious life. Her earliest publications are said to be justly censurable; but it is said, too, that she endeavoured to atone for them by many after-productions, written with a better-governed imagination, with laudable views, and the strictest regard to virtue. She out-lived, it is said, every thing frivolous or faulty in her character; and it is recorded, on the testimony of one who knew her well, and for many years, that she was affable, lively, good-natured, and entertaining to the last; and during the course of an acquaintance of many years, remarkable for an exemplary self-government, and the greatest propriety and delicacy, both of conduct and conversation. See B. D. ut supra. [i.e., Biogr. Dramatica]
  N.B. This annotator suspects, that the time of Mrs. Heywood’s appearance on the Irish theatre is antedated in the note on Tat., No. 6. vol. I. p. 54; for in the account above mentioned, which certainly underwent the examination of a very intelligent and accurate judge, it is said, that her appearance, as a performer, on the stage at Dublin, was in the year 1715.
  If this lady died in 1756, at the age of 63, she could not be the person alluded to under the name of Sappho in these papers, who was more probably Mrs. Behn, mentioned under this name, by Mrs. Manley, in her “New Atalantis,” to which the curious are referred for her history.


* * * * *

Contemporary Death notices of Haywood

Obit. in The Whitehall Evening Post 24–26 February 1756: 3c (here).
Obit. in The London Magazine 25 (February 1756): 92 (here).

NB: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]
[Substantially revised 14 December 2018]

No comments: