Love in Excess

Love in Excess, published in 1719, is a novel written by Eliza Haywood that falls under the genre of sentimental novel. The book has a total of 358 pages and has been shaped to portray themes pertaining to love, passion, and relationships.

Love in Excess, written by Eliza Haywood in 1719, is a novel that delves into the lives of characters that are mainly driven by their passions and desires. The book portrays the relationships between these characters and the complexities that arise as a result of their actions. The book can be divided into three sections, which progress the plot and character developments.

The first section of the book introduces the reader to the protagonist, Melliora. Melliora is depicted as a virtuous and beautiful woman who is admired by many. She lives with her aunt, Lady Melliora, who serves as her guardian. Melliora is pursued by many suitors, but she rejects all of them as she desires a pure and true love. However, the arrival of D’elmont, a wealthy and handsome young man, disrupts Melliora’s life. D’elmont is infatuated with Melliora and pursues her relentlessly. D’elmont’s advances cause Melliora to question her beliefs and she begins to fall for him. In the end, Melliora succumbs to D’elmont’s charm.

The second section of the book shifts the focus from Melliora to the other characters in the story. The section introduces the reader to a myriad of characters whose lives intersect and are characterized by their own passions and desires. For example, the reader learns about the tragic love story of Delia and Lysander. Delia is in love with Lysander, but he is married. Delia and Lysander’s relationship culminates in a tragic suicide, an event that causes Meliora to flee from D’elmont.

The third and final section of the book brings the story back to Melliora. Melliora reconciles with D’elmont, but their relationship is short-lived. Melliora’s aunt, Lady Melliora, tries to sabotage their relationship and ultimately succeeds. D’elmont, disillusioned with Melliora, leaves her. Melliora is devastated but ultimately realizes that their relationship was founded on their own passions and desires and was not true love. Melliora decides to live her life without falling into the traps of lustful desires and returns to leading a virtuous and happy life.

The book has a wide range of characters that come from different social backgrounds. From the noble and wealthy to the poor and powerless, the book portrays not only differences in social status but also the struggles and desires that drive human nature. Haywood’s portrays the characters in such a way that they are unable to gain control over their emotions and desires. The book highlights the importance of understanding the difference between true love, which requires virtuous and selfless intentions, and lustful desires that are often self-indulgent and destructive.

Throughout the book, the reader is forced to confront Haywood’s depiction of gender roles of the era. Women were often seen as sacred figures that were to be pursued and admired for their pure and virtuous traits. At the same time, the book showcases how men were allowed to pursue their desires and passions without any backlash. It is in this context that Melliora’s decision to walk away from D’elmont is commendable, as she chose to uphold her beliefs and virtuous principles despite societal pressures and expectations.

Overall, Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess is a tale of love and passion, but it also exposes the complexities of human desires and the importance of understanding the difference between self-indulgent lust and true love. The book highlights the importance of women’s agency and reveals the double standards that exist when it comes to gender. It is a compelling and timeless portrayal of human nature that continues to be relevant even today.