Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Eliza Haywood Unpopular in the UK

It pains me to say this, but Eliza Haywood appears to be unpopular in the UK.

Early one Saturday morning, shortly after I did my most recent update of this page (which lists Haywood scholarship online), it occurred to me that most of the major Haywood critics seem to be based in the US. Since it was cold, and daylight was still hours away, I started flicking through my mental card file to identify anyone from the UK who has made a name for themselves in the last century or so, by writing about Haywood, or editing her works.

George Frisbie Whicher? No.
Mary Anne Schofield? No.
Christine Blouch? No.
Toni Bowers? No.
Patricia Meyer Spacks? No.
Kirsten T. Saxton? No.
Juliette Merritt? No.
Jerry C. Beasley? No.
Deborah Nestor? No.
Alexander Pettit? No.
Kathryn R. King? No.
Margaret Case Croskery? No.
Tiffany Potter? No.
Me! No.

The only Haywood scholar from the UK that I could think of, off the top of my head, was Kim Simpson. I wish Kim enormous success, but I am sure she would agree that she is still establishing herself in the field. Which got me thinking: how would you quantify, empirically, the extent to which other UK (or British) scholars have contributed to the field. As soon as I had worked something out, I jumped up and set to work.

It took all day—from dark to dark—but I managed to establish to my own satisfaction that British scholars have made no significant impact on recent Haywood studies. I set out my reasoning and results below, and the limit I set myself concerning how to define "recent" and "impact", but the searches that I conducted which go beyond the limits I set reinforce the impression of those results. That is, British scholars have not made a significant impact on Haywood studies generally.

Another impression I have is that many (perhaps "most") of the scholars, who have made an impact on Haywood studies, are not from top-ranked universities. University rankings are an unhealthy obsession of administrators, but the fact that I had not heard of a very large number of the institutions in question cannot be dismissed solely on the basis that I am an antipodean. I visited every library in the States with more than ten Haywood items in their collection: west-coast, mid-west, north-east and east coast. If I find myself with another day on my hands I might correlate scholars with original editions of her works. I suspect the relation is an inverse proportion.

It is quite likely that my revelation is no revelation to US-based scholars, who regularly attend conferences, and see few outlanders. If any such are reading this, I hope you enjoy finding that the evidence below supports your general impression, that Haywood studies are unpopular in the UK. If you have any theories concerning why that may be the case, I'd love to hear them.

* * * * *

I decided to use citation statistics to establish which essays are most frequently cited. I also decided to omit monograph books because there are very few of them, and none that I could think of had UK authors (Whicher, Schofield, Merritt, me, King). The best citation-indexing of literary Studies is by Google scholar (GS), so I used it, and compared Google to its competitors, focusing on citations from 2000 onwards.

Since I was primarly interested in literary studies scholars who had contributed to the study of Haywood's works as literature, I excluded biographical essays like Blouch's “Eliza Haywood and the romance of obscurity" [48 citations on GS], Backscheider's “The shadow of an author: Eliza Haywood” [27] and King's “Eliza Haywood, Savage Love, and Biographical Uncertainty” [13]. I also excluded comparative essays like H. Thompson, “Plotting materialism: W. Charleton's The Ephesian Matron, E. Haywood's Fantomina, and feminine consistency” [15] and M. N. Powell, “Parroting and the Periodical: Women's Speech, Haywood's Parrot, and Its Antecedents” [14].

The citation-indexing by MLA is less complete than GS, but the coverage is very good: all of the top eleven GS articles are indexed by MLA, but the total citations are 80 versus 161 citations on GS (i.e., it records around half the citations).

The citation-indexing by Web of Science [WoS] is, in general, pitiful: no article about Haywood has more than eight citations on WoS, and none of the six essays with more than five citations are among the eleven with the highest citations on GS. Likewise, only six of the top eleven Google-listed articles appear on WoS, and these listings capture less than fifteen percent of the total citations for the same articles, as recorded by GS (18 versus 125 citations).

The citation-indexing of by Scopus is only slightly better than WoS: no article has more than eight citations on Scopus, and only three of the essays with more than five citations are among the dozen with the highest citations on GS. Likewise, while nine of the top eleven Google-listed articles appear on Scopus, these listings capture only about one quarter of the total citations for the same articles, as recorded by GS (44 versus 161 citations).

With these limits in mind, I was able to establish a list of the top eleven essays—eleven, because there was a tie for tenth place! These essays, with their citation statistics, are:

Lubey, K., “Eliza Haywood’s amatory aesthetic” (2006) [30; 13 on MLA; 8 on Scopus; 3 on WoS] ¶ focus on Lasselia
Anderson, E. H., “Performing the Passions in Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina and Miss Betsy Thoughtless” (2005) [24; 12 on MLA; 6 on Scopus; 2 of WoS]
Kvande, M., “The Outsider Narrator in Eliza Haywood’s Political Novels” (2003) [22; 12 on MLA; 5 on Scopus] ¶ focus on Memoirs of Utopia
Stuart, S., “Subversive Didacticism in Eliza Haywood’s Betsy Thoughtless” (2002) [19; 7 on MLA; 5 on Scopus; 4 on WoS]
Drury, J., “Haywood’s thinking machines” (2008) [14; 4 on MLA; 4 on Scopus; 0 on WoS] ¶ focus on Love in Excess
Girten, K. M., “Unsexed Souls: Natural Philosophy as Transformation in Eliza Haywood’s Female Spectator” (2009) [14; 6 on MLA; 3 on Scopus; 2 on WoS]
Mowry, M. M., “Eliza Haywood’s Defense of London’s Body Politic” (2003) [14; 7 on MLA; 4 on Scopus; 0 on WoS] ¶ focus on Fantomina (1725) and The City Jilt (1726)
Pettit, A., “Adventures in pornographic places: Eliza Haywood’s Tea-Table and the decentering of moral argument” (2002) [13; 1 on MLA; 7 on Scopus; 5 on WoS]
Black, S., “Trading Sex for Secrets in Haywood’s Love in Excess” (2003) [12; 6 on MLA; 0 on Scopus; 0 on WoS]
Potter, T., “The language of feminised sexuality: gendered voice in Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess and Fantomina” (2003) [11; 6 on MLA; 0 on Scopus; 0 on WoS]
Hultquist, A., “Haywood’s Re-Appropriation of the Amatory Heroine in Betsy Thoughtless” (2006) [11; 6 on MLA; 2 on Scopus; 2 on WoS]

The affiliations of these scholars are:

Kathleen Lubey, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, NY
Emily Hodgson Anderson, University of Southern California's Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, CA
Marta Kvande, Texas Tech University, TX
Shea Stuart, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs NC
Joseph Drury, Villanova University, English Department, Villanova, PA
Kristin M. Girten, University of Nebraska, NE
Melissa M. Mowry, St. John's University, Staten Island NY
Alex Pettit, University of North Texas, TX
Scott Black, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
Tiffany Potter, University of British Columbia, Canada
Aleksondra Hultquist, Stockton University, Galloway, NJ

So, there you have it: ten American-based scholars, and one Canadian-based scholar. So, why is Eliza Haywood Unpopular in the UK?

[UPDATED 2 July 2017]

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