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Abstract

On 25 February 1749, Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, vanished from European public view. Expelled from France by Louis XV to honour the recently negotiated Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle with England, and rebuffed by Pope Benedict XIV for the expense he would cost the Vatican, Charles disappeared from the map, becoming the most speculated-upon celebrity for the next decade. In December 1749, Eliza Haywood was arrested for seditious libel for her involvement in a pamphlet entitled A Letter from H— G—g, Esq; One of the Gentlemen of the Bed-Chamber to the Young Chevalier, ... To a Particular Friend. Not as glamorous as Charles but certainly capable of stirring up as much personal speculation owing to her own mysterious absence of biography, Haywood has recently drawn the attention of many scholars who are determined to affix a Tory—even Jacobite—label to her writings. The conjoining of these two popular icons—the Young Pretender, romantic hero of Culloden, and Eliza Haywood, author of dozens of amatory novels—both considered wayward, threatening, and marginal by their contemporary society, makes for a compelling pair. Through Haywood’s pamphlet, the two become interdependent, sharing what the Young Chevalier called “imaginary space,” an expression he used to describe the years 1749–52 that he spent incognito, virtually invisible to the European political gaze.

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