Added: October 11, 2014 – Last updated: June 27, 2015


Author: Loring Pfeiffer

Title: ‘A Most Obedient Wife’

Subtitle: Passive Resistance and Tory Politics in Eliza Haywood’s A Wife to Be Lett

In: Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800

Edited by: Anne Greenfield

Place: London

Publisher: Pickering & Chatto

Year: 2013

Pages: 83-93 and 189-191

Series: The Body, Gender and Culture 14

ISBN-13: 9781848934399 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 18th Century | English History Representations: Literature / Eliza Haywood


Link: EBSCOhost (Restricted Access)

Link: University Publishing Online (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »Pfeiffer takes up the topic of wife pandering, or the act of selling one's wife to another man, as seen in Eliza Haywood's A Wife to Be Lett (1723). Pfeiffer shows that the play's heroine, Mrs Graspall, faces an ideological challenge akin to the one facing Tories at the time. Mrs Graspall strives to remain a virtuous and obedient wife while, at the same time, resisting her husband's cruel designs to 'rent' her sexually to another man; Tories similarly sought to remain the 'party of obedience' while resisting the commands of the rising Whig majority. In Haywood's hands, the sexual becomes political, as Mrs Graspall's suffering illustrates the potential for sufferers to resist virtuously and passively such legitimate authorities.« (Source: Anne Greenfield. »Introduction.« Interpreting Sexual Violence, 1660-1800. Edited by Anne Greenfield. London 2013: 9)

Wikipedia: Eliza Haywood