HAYWOOD, ELIZA (c. 1693-1756), English writer, daughter of a London tradesman named Fowler, was born about 1693. She made an early and unhappy marriage with a man named Haywood, and her literary enemies circulated scandalous stories about her, possibly founded on her works rather than her real history. She appeared on the stage as early as 1715, and in 1721 she revised for Lincoln's Inn Fields The Fair Captive, by a Captain Hurst. Two other pieces followed, but Eliza Haywood made her mark as a follower of Mrs Manley in writing scandalous and voluminous novels. To Memoirs of a certain Island adjacent to Utopia, written by a celebrated author of that country. Now translated into English (1725), she appended a key in which the characters were explained by initials denoting living persons. The names are supplied to these initials in the copy in the British Museum. The Secret History of the Present Intrigues of the Court of Caramania (1727) was explained in a similar manner. The style of these productions is as extravagant as their matter. Pope attacked her in a coarse passage in The Dunciad (bk. ii. n. 157 et seq.), which is aggravated by a note alluding to the " profligate licentiousness of those shameless scribblers (for the most part of that sex which ought least to be capable of such malice or impudence) who in libellous Memoirs and Novels reveal the faults or misfortunes of both sexes, to the ruin of public fame, or disturbance of private happiness." Swift, writing to Lady Suffolk, says, "Mrs Haywocd I have heard of as a stupid, infamous, scribbling woman, but have not seen any of her productions." She continued to be a prolific writer of novels until her death on the 25th of February 1756, but her later works are characterized by extreme propriety, though an anonymous story of The Fortunate Foundlings (1744), purporting to be an account of the children of Lord Charles Manners, is generally ascribed to her.
A collected edition of her novels, plays and poems appeared in 1724, and her Secret Histories, Novels and Poems in 1725. See also an article by S. L. Lee in the Dictionary of National Biography.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)