Peru and Peruvian Tales

Overview

Helen Maria Williams's epic poem Peru, first published in 1784, movingly recounts the story of Francisco Pizarro's brutal conquest and exploitation of the Incas and their subsequent revolt against Spain. Like William Wordsworth, who revised The Prelude over the course of his life, Williams revisited her epic several times within almost four decades, transforming it with each revision. It began as an ambitious poetic blueprint for revolution—in terms of politics, gender, religion, and genre. By the time it ...
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Overview

Helen Maria Williams's epic poem Peru, first published in 1784, movingly recounts the story of Francisco Pizarro's brutal conquest and exploitation of the Incas and their subsequent revolt against Spain. Like William Wordsworth, who revised The Prelude over the course of his life, Williams revisited her epic several times within almost four decades, transforming it with each revision. It began as an ambitious poetic blueprint for revolution—in terms of politics, gender, religion, and genre. By the time it appeared in 1823, under the title "Peruvian Tales" in her last poetry collection, Williams's voice had become more moderate, more restrained; in her words, her muse had become "timid," reflecting the cultural shift that had taken place in England since the poem's earliest publication.
This edition includes both versions of the poem, along with extensive examples of Williams's literary sources, other poetic works, and the many and varied critical responses from contemporary reviewers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554811281
  • Publisher: Broadview Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2014
  • Pages: 200

Meet the Author

Paula R. Feldman is the C. Wallace Martin Professor of English and the Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina. She is the editor of the Broadview Encore Edition of The Keepsake for 1829, a literary annual.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Helen Maria Williams: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Texts
Peru
"Peruvian Tales"
Appendix A: Related Poetic Works by Helen Maria Williams
Helen Maria Williams, "An Ode on the Peace" (1783)
"A Poem on the Bill Lately Passed for Regulating the Slave Trade" (1788)
Appendix B: Williams's Historical and Literary Sources
Joseph Warton, "The Dying Indian" (1744) and "The Revenge of America" (1755)
William Hayley, An Essay on Epic Poetry (1782) and translation of Alonso de Ercilla's La Arauncana (1782)
Françoise de Graffigny, Letters Written by a Peruvian Princess (1747)
Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1776)
William Robertson, History of America (1777)
Jean-François Marmontel, The Incas; or, The Destruction of the Empire of Peru (1777)
Appendix C: Poetic Responses to Helen Maria Williams
Anna Seward, "Sonnet to Miss Williams, on her Epic Poem Peru" (1784)
Eliza, "To Miss Helen Maria Williams: on her Poem of Peru" (1784)
E., "Sonnet to Miss Helen Maria Williams, on her Poem of Peru" (1786)
J. B-------o, "Sonnet. To Miss Helena-Maria Williams" (1787)
William Wordsworth, "Sonnet on Seeing Miss Helen Maria Williams Weep at a Tale of Distress" (1787)
Richard Polewhele, from The Unsex'd Females: A Poem (1798)
Appendix D: Contemporary Critical Reviews of Peru and of "Peruvian Tales"
From The New Annual Register (1784)
From The Critical Review (1784)
From The English Review (1784)
From the Monthly Review (1784); reprinted in the London Magazine (1784)
From Town and Country Magazine (1784)
From The English Review (1786)
From The European Magazine, and London Review (1786)
From the Monthly Review (1786)
From the New Review (1786)
From the New Annual Register (1786)
From The English Lyceum (1787)
From The European Magazine, and London Review (1823)
From The Literary Gazette (1823)
From The Monthly Review (1823)
Select Bibliography
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