Strange ghosts handing out jewels is no basis for a system of government

politics and the redemption of Eve in Eliza Haywood's The Adventures of Eovaai

Stephanie Russo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Eliza Haywood's The Adventures of Eovaai, Princess of Ijaveo (1736) is equal parts political allegory, orientalist fable, romance, erotica, and propaganda. The Adventures of Eovaai sits within a wide range of political writing about Robert Walpole, and the corrupt magician Ochihatou functions as a symbol of the state of contemporary politics. Haywood foregrounds the story of a female sovereign to suggest that political and sexual desires, properly regulated, can reconstitute the body politic. Despite the novel's interest in affirming the values of the Patriot Whig opposition, Eovaai explores the specific complexities associated with female rule and, particularly, the intersection of sexual and political desire. Haywood explores female political power through her imaginative rewriting of the Adam and Eve myth, so that, in Haywood's telling, Eve's pursuit for knowledge, both political and sexual, leads to the fulfilment of sexual desire, and the formation of a politically legitimate constitutional monarchy in Ijaveo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-996
Number of pages17
JournalEnglish Studies
Issue number8
Early online date6 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • Eliza Haywood
  • women's writing
  • novel
  • politics

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