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Love in Excess

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  1,061 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
"This readable edition of Haywood's blockbuster novel is an important addition to our understanding of the history of the English novel." -- Paula Backscheider, Auburn University
Paperback, Second Edition, 297 pages
Published June 12th 2000 by Broadview Press (first published 1719)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,966)
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Alex
Jun 19, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it
Panting and misspelled, Love in Excess is easy to roll your eyes at. But I think it deserves more. It was a blockbuster smash when it was published in 1720, as popular as Robinson Crusoe. It influenced Samuel Richardson and it's much more fun than his work. It was written by a woman and shows women who have their own sexual agendas. It's not great, but it's a good time.

The bodice-ripping plot follows the "exstatick ruiner" Count D'Elmont, so pretty that knickers fly like John Woo's doves in his
...more
Lindsay
Feb 19, 2009 Lindsay rated it liked it
Eliza Haywood is perhaps best remembered for the caricature Alexander Pope provides of her in his satirical poem The Dunciad -- Haywood is the prize for the victor of a (literal) pissing contest. The loser receives a chamber pot, though it's clear that Pope didn't see a huge difference between the two prizes. Love in Excess was widely read in the 1720s but much of the British literati vehemently dismissed it as trash. You get the impression that the cover of its modern-day equivalent would have ...more
Cheri
Jan 26, 2008 Cheri rated it it was ok
This book taught me that chapters are awesome and that I take modern text formatting way too for granted.
Marcelle
Jun 29, 2007 Marcelle rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, not ever
I hate this book from start to finish. I still can't believe I had to read it for class, and not a single lecture addressed the violent sexual terrorization the main character afflicts on his ward, a young adolscent girl. Instead the lectures focused on his "love" for her, and explaining the qualities of a "redeemable rake."
Unbelievable.
Halliwell
Apr 19, 2012 Halliwell rated it it was ok
This book sucks. Don't read it. It's almost worth avoiding classes which prescribe it. The language is about as dense and tangled as Count D'elmont's pubic hair, and what's worse is that the often self-conscious narrative style makes no attempt to be succinct. This is an apparently deliberate device to support the novel's concerns of interchangeability of (particularly female) characters, but which complicates readability and drags out the text even longer. A word of the wise: look up plot line ...more
Olivia Morgan
Jul 02, 2014 Olivia Morgan rated it liked it
I just finished reading Part the First of Love in Excess. This novel takes a lot of intense focus (or at least it did for me) because of the 18th century language and spelling. I did, however, find that it held my attention much better and was more enjoyable to read that most other 18th century novels that I've read. It focuses a lot on the ideas of duty and desire in romantic relationships. Should I marry for love or should I marry to create a strategic partnership that will benefit my family? ...more
Julianne Quaine
Mar 14, 2014 Julianne Quaine rated it it was ok
Number 17 of 1001 Books you must read before you die. Eliza Haywood's book was one of the most popular novels in its day, competing with Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. It tells the story of Count D'Elmont and his quest for romantic and fulfilling love. On his way he ravishes one woman, whom he mistakenly thinks is writing him love letters, marries the woman who was writing him the letters, but whom one he doesn't love, and falls in love with his ward. He attempts to seduce the ward and ends up causing ...more
Valerie Esposito
Sep 22, 2010 Valerie Esposito rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bex
Sep 27, 2009 Bex rated it it was ok
So I just finished reading this book today.
This was reading material for a class on 18th century lit. I was interested to discover that this book was wildly popular in its day and curious as to why it faded into obscurity after the author's death. Upon reading it, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't as timeless as other books that have stayed popular. Perhaps it was the characters, most of whom I found unrelatable to the modern reader and either uninteresting, worrisome or just plain silly.
...more
April
Feb 14, 2013 April rated it it was ok
University of Saint Thomas' Graduate English - The Rise of the Novel

The beginning of this book, although full of rambling long sentences and hurried paragraphs, was quite addicting, as I would imagine a modern love story to be (I don't really read romances).

By book two, I started to get tired of the dramatic love triangles and pages upon pages of men and women arguing as to whether they should sleep together or not.

I skimmed the third book, because basically it was just full of men wanting to
...more
Joe
Jun 01, 2015 Joe added it
defoe/crusoe || haywood/love in excess. Count D'elmont is so attractive women--all women--lose their minds, burn all social bridges, swoon, rip off their clothes, die of love sickness at his sight. He is basically the ark of the covenant. It's about as realistic as all the Crusoe's convenient commune of one desert island. Yet perhaps the realism is in the radically asymmetrical power men in this early 18th C narrative wield over women and the expression of a relative taboo--female desire. The ps ...more
Monty Milne
Jan 18, 2015 Monty Milne rated it it was ok
I came to this shortly after reading "The Princess of Cleves", and groaned inwardly at the thought of another dreary 18th century soap opera of simpering heroines and bodice-ripping French aristos...but Mrs Haywood is much more readable than dreary old Madame La Fayette. There is plenty of excitement to keep one turning the pages - abductions, elopements, near-rapes, secret assignations, lovers hiding in the shrubbery, sexual ambiguity inspired by a bit of cross-dressing, etc etc...and there is ...more
Arria
Mar 03, 2014 Arria rated it it was ok
Gawd damn, I hated this book. With every passing page, I wanted to stab my eyes out and even rolled my eyes as I turned pages or with new plot twists there were done in an amount of times that is not a compliment to the story or author.

There were even parts where the characters were saying to eachother how they were sorry that their story was taking too long to tell and that the recipient character of their story was probably getting bored and I thought, YES. Like me! Blah blah blah I heard mys
...more
Sassie Yona
Oct 31, 2014 Sassie Yona rated it liked it
It does Eliza Haywood an injustice to review Love in Excess in the same way I would another novel written in the nineteenth, twentieth, or twenty-first centuries. She had no convention to rely on; she needed to create the convention. Her love triangles may feel tiresome only because we have all already encountered hundreds of books, movies, stories, songs, and television shows which revolve around this overused plot structure.

I only read Part the First of Love Excess, but I can understand why it
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Sherwood Smith
Haywood's novel was as popular as its contemporary, Robinson Crusoe, but its "outrageous" exploration of female sexuality caused the novel to fall into neglect in later more conservative times.

It shows how very rudimentary the novel form was at the time; it commits just about every "error" that first novelists are now enjoined against, including pages-long paragraphs. But it was tremendously influential.
Martin
Jul 10, 2015 Martin rated it did not like it
How is this any different from Princess of Cleves? It's just as dull, boring, uninteresting, uncompelling, and dreadful. The only difference is that a few elements were ratcheted up several degrees, such as the note-passing, bodice-ripping, and general, deplorable, ghastly, objectionable whoredom. It's too overt a conceit that women who are frank about their sexuality and desires conveniently drop dead, while those who are chaste get to skate. No fair that D'elmont gets to live happily ever afte ...more
Katie
Mar 25, 2008 Katie rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-classes
Too much plot, not enough character development. What a drag.
Benjy
Unfortunately I could not find a reprinted text online, so had to read off a pdf'd manuscript which, with the lack of paragraphing, modern grammar, spelling and the letter "s" looking like an "f", made this quite an elongated read. I also get very bored with this genre of book which usually runs along the lines of, girl sees boy and fancies him so madly she will die if she doesn't have him. Unfortunately, he is looking at another girl. 1st girl selfishly tries to sabotage the relationship so tha ...more
Benjamin
Mar 30, 2015 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
One of the most popular novels of the early 18th century, Eliza Haywood's Love in Excess is largely forgotten today. It is difficult to imagine why, as it ticks all the right boxes of heightened romantic fiction. Maybe, as it was written by a woman, and allows its female characters sexual desire, male literary historians found it easy to overlook it.
The protagonist is Count D'elmont, who has to overcome several obstacles before he is finally united with his beloved; several other couples undergo
...more
Leajk
I was expecting a far more juicy tale to begin with, hearing as this was the most scandalous book ever to be published and how it was a best seller of the 50 Shades of Grey format back in it's day. Safe to say it was probably quite scandalous for it's time, especially as the blurb points out, since it depicts not only the lust of men, but also, and perhaps especially of women. Here women, and men, rave, sigh, cry, faint and go mad with love. It is indeed Love in Excess.

Yet all the time Haywood
...more
Jeff
Jul 01, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
As I read this book, I went back and forth between really liking it, and really...well...not. At times it's hard to remember that the syrupy sweetness and the highly unlikely (impossible) coincidences in the book are supposed to be satirical. Characters that you despised in one part of the book become heroes in others. Rendezvous and chance meeting become so utterly "chance" that they defy belief. And then there's the never-ending web of familial and romantic relationships that double back and c ...more
Sarah
Apr 06, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
Meh.
Heather
Sep 11, 2008 Heather rated it liked it
This is one of the earliest examples of a novel in English, but it is really more of a romance/novel hybrid, and frankly, quite ridiculous. It is dramatic to the point of farce, and for that fact alone is pretty entertaining. The conversations between the characters are highly stylized and belabored... very courtly. One of my favorite passages is something like, "And henceforth I shall count no hours happy except for those which may be of some service to you."
The spelling and punctuation is oft
...more
Adam Stevenson
Sep 05, 2016 Adam Stevenson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A little bored of the love triangles in the first two parts. D’elmont was silly and not very interesting. Alovysa a self-loving harpy and Meliora too good by half

…but the third part. That was romantic and excessive and ludicrous and utterly wonderful. Loved it. It made me laugh in it’s excessiveness, but it made me feel the agonies and ecstasies of the love - I had a happy tear in my eye and lump in my throat, whilst marvelling at how daft it all was.

The end was total tonal whiplash - the best c
...more
Cat
Nov 29, 2008 Cat rated it really liked it
I would actually recommend this particular edition of Love in Excess because it is explanatory without being overwhelming (Oxford World Classics series- I'm looking at you!) Originally published in 1719- the same year as Robinson Crusoe, Love in Excess was one of the first smash british novels, and it's influence on 19th century writers like the Bronte sisters is quite obvious.

Love in Excess tells the story of an amorous French count. In chapter one he gets married, in chapter two he tries to se
...more
Kara
Sep 14, 2014 Kara rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for my 18th century lit class. We were told by our professor that this was the first "bodice ripper" ever written.

I was very entertained throughout this tale. It is addicting, well written and an overall fun read. There was no X-rated stuff, but the sexual tension was palpable. Loved this book!

4 stars!
Book Wormy
Mar 19, 2016 Book Wormy rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001-read
Love in Excess Eliza Heywood
3 stars

The story of the Count Delmont and the various women whose misfortune it is to fall in love with him.

I would class this as kind of very early chic lit there are humourous scenes and sad scenes and if anyone writes a letter it is bound to end up in the wrong hands, however by the end of the novel the various crossed wires have cleared themselves up leaving the way for a happy ending.

In some ways this reminded me off The Princess of Cleves and A Midsummers Night
...more
Candice Snow
Nov 10, 2015 Candice Snow rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, classics
I would have found this much more amusing than I did if it wasn't horrifically riddled with typos. I can understand the fact that standardized spelling has changed drastically from the time this novel was published, but there is no excuse for SPELLING YOUR OWN CHARACTERS NAMES WRONG. The majority of the footnotes in my text were just corrections to help make sense of what she wrote!

As for the plot, I was confused as to whether or not this was a feminist work of literature. While Haywood certainl
...more
Carolyn Davis
Feb 02, 2015 Carolyn Davis rated it liked it
Weird, long, and repetitive but strangely enjoyable. I can't imagine ever teaching it one day, though.
Megan Bruening
May 10, 2013 Megan Bruening rated it liked it
I cannot gush about this novel enough: it's what got me hooked on eighteenth century literature. I won't argue Haywood is the most technically skilled author ever, and I willingly admit the many characters and non-linear plot can be confusing for a modern reader, especially one unfamiliar with other works of the period.

But it's just a fun story. How can reading about the romantic exploits of a libertine not be fun? And if you read closely you can detect Haywood's critique on the social definitio
...more
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Eliza Haywood (1693 – 25 February 1756), born Elizabeth Fowler, was an English writer, actress and publisher. Since the 1980s, Eliza Haywood’s literary works have been gaining in recognition and interest. Described as “prolific even by the standards of a prolific age” (Blouch, intro 7), Haywood wrote and published over seventy works during her lifetime including fiction, drama, translations, poetr ...more
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