Fantomina

Or, Love in a Maze

Eliza Haywood

Paperback

96pp

Publication date: 31 March 2021

ISBN: 9781913724023

£6.99

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Fantomina, or, Love in a Maze is a novella by Eliza Haywood which charts an unnamed female protagonist’s pursuit of the charming, shallow Beauplaisir. Dealing with major themes such as identity, class and sexual desire, and first published in 1725, Fantomina subverts the popular ‘persecuted maiden’ narrative, and reaches a climax which would have shocked its contemporary readership.

Moving to London, a young woman – let’s call her Fantomina – meets a dashing man at the theatre. After a short, but intense, fling, Beauplaisir grows bored of Fantomina, and leaves her. Outraged that she should be so treated, Fantomina discards her disguise in favour of another, and sets off in hot pursuit of her victim, and a game of cat and mouse begins.

Eliza Haywood

Eliza Fowler Haywood (c.1693–1756), was a writer, actress and publisher, now understood to be one of founders of the novel form, as well as an avant-garde publisher of important authors.