Bending, Stephen and Bygrave, Stephen (eds.)
Women's travel writings in revolutionary France. Part I: 3 volume set,
London, GB, Pickering & Chatto, 1088pp.
(Chawton House Library Series: Women’s Travel Writings).
Full text not available from this repository.
This seven-volume facsimile set comprises firsthand accounts of France in the 1790s. Helen Maria Williams’s letters narrate the fall of Robespierre in 1794 and her 1798 book on Switzerland comments sceptically on the necessary coexistence of liberty with peace. Charlotte West who, like Williams, celebrated the fall of the Bastille but was later imprisoned by the republic, records the corruption, paranoia and violence of the Terror both in the provinces and in Paris.
All texts are republished in full. Selected for their rarity, the texts are drawn from Chawton House’s unparalleled collection
Most of the texts included have never before been republished
Each set in the series includes a substantial general introduction, headnotes, endnotes and a consolidated index in their final volume. Each facsimile page is digitally cleaned and enhanced, significantly improving on the quality and legibility of the original
Volumes 1 & 2
Helen Maria Williams, Letters Containing a Sketch of the Scenes which Passed in Various Departments of France during the Tyranny of Robespierre (1796)
Written at a moment of optimism after the brutal politics of the Terror, Helen Maria Williams’s letters (drawn from her bestselling account of France in the 1790s) combine the sentimental language of sympathy with an account of the horrors of Republican violence and a detailed narrative of Robespierre’s rise and fall.
Helen Maria Williams, A Tour in Switzerland (1798)
Having fled to Switzerland following her critical account of Robespierre Williams’s 1798 book relates the electrifying effects of the Revolution on the cantons; it combines an account of the topography of the Alps with an acerbic and sceptical commentary on the claim that liberty inevitably accompanies peace.
Charlotte West, A Ten Years’ Residence in France, During the Severest Part of the Revolution … 1787 to 1797 (1821)
Charlotte West who, like Williams, celebrated the fall of the Bastille and was later imprisoned by the republic, records the corruption, paranoia and violence of the Terror both in the provinces and in Paris: she claims to host the French royal family after they are turned back from Varennes and glimpses a ‘gloomy’ and ‘mischievous’ Napoleon.
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