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Anne Hultzsch on A Tour in Switzerland

12 May, 2022

Helen Maria Williams was a contemporary of Mary Wollstonecraft and the two met at the time of the French Revolution in Paris, both British and both women concerned with politics. Williams sided with the moderate faction of the Girondists, was imprisoned for a time under the reign of terror and soon undertook a journey to Switzerland to get out of harms way. Clearly still engaged with the future of her adoptive home country, in the two-volume A Tour of Switzerland (1798), she compares Swiss society and government to the French, but also gives impassioned renderings of the Swiss landscapes she encounters, from the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen to mountain passes, glaciers, and the lakes and villas of the Italian-speaking part of the country. She is a good example for a woman author who knew how to exploit the feminine skill of sensibility to mask her expert critique of both aesthetic theory as well as contemporary political philosophy – both supposedly masculine domains.

Anne Hultzsch on A Tour in Switzerland

Helen Maria Williams was a contemporary of Mary Wollstonecraft and the two met at the time of the French Revolution in Paris, both British and both women concerned with politics. Williams sided with the moderate faction of the Girondists, was imprisoned for a time under the reign of terror and soon undertook a journey to […]