The Masqueraders, or Fatal Curiosity and The Surprize, or Constancy Rewarded

University of Toronto Press


The most important female English novelist of the 1720s, Eliza Haywood is famous for writing scandalous fiction about London society. Fast-moving, controversial, and sometimes disturbing, Haywood’s short novels The Masqueraders and The Surprize are valuable sources for the study of eighteenth-century gender and identity, the social history of masquerade, the dangers of courtship and seduction, and conceptions of elite and popular cultures.

Despite their common theme of masquerade and seduction, the two short novels are a study in contrasts. The Masqueraders features the whirl of London life, with a libertine anti-hero and his serial seductions of women who believe that they can manipulate the social conventions that are expected to limit them. The Surprize, on the other hand, is an uncharacteristically sentimental story in which a similarly salacious plot ends in rewards for the good and virtuous.

Well suited to the teaching of these two texts, this volume contains annotated scholarly editions of both novels, an extensive introduction, and useful appendices that discuss the masquerade’s role in eighteenth-century debates on gender, morality, and identity.

Purchase this Book

About the Author

Tiffany Potter

Tiffany Potter works in 18th-century studies. Her arc has included major research projects on libertinism and gender in fiction and theatre; representations of indigenous women in 17th- and 18th-century North American contact and captivity narratives; and women writers in 18th-century England. She also works in television studies, co-editing with CW Marshall an award-winning critical collection on SciFi’s Battlestar Galactica (Bloomsbury 2008), and the first scholarly collection on HBO’s The Wire (Bloomsbury 2009).

Her most recent SSHRC-funded research project generated the 2012 collection, Women, Popular Culture and the Eighteenth Century (UTP). Also with SSHRC support, she has published three critical editions with the University of Toronto Press: Robert Rogers’ 1766 play, Ponteach, or the Savages of America: A Tragedy (2010); Elizabeth Cooper’s 1735 play, The Rival Widows, or Fair Libertine (2013); and Eliza Haywood’s 1724 short novels The Masqueraders and The Surprise (UTP 2015). Her next book project will be Approaches to Teaching the Works of Eliza Haywood with MLA Press.

She is also Associate Head, Curriculum and Planning; the coordinator of the first-year English program; and one of the originators of the groundbreaking English PhD Co-op program that started at UBC in 2013. She was awarded the Fairclough Teaching Prize in 2006 and the Killam Teaching Prize in 2015.

Learn more about the author »