Helen Maria Williams and the Age of Revolution

Overview

Helen Maria Williams (1761-1827) had a long and prolific career as a writer: she was a celebrated British poet, an influential translator of works of French literature and history, and an important British chronicler of the French Revolution in a series of books entitled Letters from France, published in eight volumes from 1790-1796. Eventually settling in Paris with her mother and two sisters, Williams hosted a Parisian salon that was frequented by many of Europe's most important politicians, artists, writers, ...
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Overview

Helen Maria Williams (1761-1827) had a long and prolific career as a writer: she was a celebrated British poet, an influential translator of works of French literature and history, and an important British chronicler of the French Revolution in a series of books entitled Letters from France, published in eight volumes from 1790-1796. Eventually settling in Paris with her mother and two sisters, Williams hosted a Parisian salon that was frequented by many of Europe's most important politicians, artists, writers, and thinkers, including J.P. Brissot, Madame Roland, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, and Alexander von Humboldt. Deborah Kennedy's Helen Maria Williams and the Age of Revolution is the first critical study to be published on this fascinating woman of letters: it is a comprehensively researched and lucidly written account of Williams' life and writing in the context of the major events taking place in England and France throughout her life. Complicating and extending biography, Kennedy's richly textured and contextual discussion of the "literary celebrity of the French Revolution" combines social history, literary history, criticism, political and social history, and intellectual history, in a discussion that will appeal to general readers even while it makes an important contribution to the field of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century studies of women writers.
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Meet the Author

Deborah Kennedy is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Saint Mary's University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She specializes in British literature of the eighteenth century and the romantic period. Her publications include articles on William Wordsworth, Frances Burney, Charlotte Smith, Felicia Hemans, and Helen Maria Williams.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 9
Acknowledgments 11
Introduction 13
List of Abbreviations 15
Chronology 17
1. The Poetry of Sensibility 21
2. Citizen of the World, 1789-1792 52
3. "English Historian of the French Revolution" 90
4. A Tour of Switzerland: The Sublime and the Political 122
5. The Napoleonic Era 153
6. Venerable Woman of Letters 184
Notes 216
Bibliography 252
Index 269
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