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Eliza Haywood (1693-1756) was one of the most successful writers of her time; indeed, the two most popular English novels in the early eighteenth-century were Robinson Crusoe and Haywoods first novel, Love in Excess. As this edition enables modern readers to discover, its enormous success is easy to understand. Love in Excess is a well crafted novel in which the claims of love and ambition are pursued through multiple storylines until the heroine engineers a melodramatic conclusion.
Haywoods frankness about female sexuality may explain the later neglect of Love in Excess. (In contrast, her accomplished domestic novel, The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, has remained available.) Love in Excess and its reception provide a lively and valuable record of the challenge that female desire posed to social decorum.
For the second Broadview edition, the appendix of eighteenth-century responses to Haywood has been considerably expanded.