The Writing of Politics and the Politics of Writing in Helen Maria Williams’ A Tour in Switzerland (1798)

Paula Yurss Lasanta


British author and political activist Helen Maria Williams (1759-1827) dedicated the greatest part of her career to describe and analyse the French Revolution and the consequences of its aftermath. She is known for her Letters written in France (1790), an eyewitness account of her first visit to France. At the beginning of her career, Williams was praised in Britain for her  sensibility poems. However, when she moved to France, and especially after the publication of A Tour Switzerland (1798), she shows her commitment to the ideas of the French Revolution while presenting her writing a source for accurate political and historical information. For this aim, she employs a series of strategies that situate herself in the position of an informed intellectual. This article focuses on A Tour in Switzerland, a work that has received less critical attention than Letters but deserves reconsideration.


Helen Maria Williams; Women’s Writing; Eighteenth Century; French Revolution

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