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Helen Maria Williams

"Letters Written in France in 1790, to a friend in England; containing various Anecdotes Relative to the French Revolution" (1790)

Published: T. Cadell, London, 1790

Edition: First Edition

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Reserve: $1,000


Estimate: $1500

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"Letters Written in France in the summer of 1790, to a friend in England; containing, various Anecdotes Relative to the French Revolution; and memoirs of Mons. and Madame Du F___".

 Original full calf binding with the original red morocco label on spine. Small rectangular piece removed from top corners of the title page and following page (presumably to remove a former 18th century owner's name as the traces of ink appear very old).

Helen Maria Williams (1761-1827) was a British novelist, poet, translator of French works as well as a supporter of abolitionism and the French Revolution. She was thrown into the Luxembourg prison by Robespierre during the Reign of Terror but was allowed to continue working on the translation of French works into English, among which, most notably, is her translation of Bernardin St. Pierre's "Paul et Virginie". As a staunch supporter of the ideals of the French Revolution she was disenchanted by Napoleon and the Emperor would later declare her ode "The Peace signed between the French and the English" to be treasonable to France. Consequently she had to spend a day in prison.

This is the true original first edition of this now-famous literary figure's eye witness accounts chronicling the French Revolution and this volume is the first, and most important, in a series of eight volumes thereof. Her Letters written in France also mark her turn from being primarily a writer of poetry to a writer of prose and in them she recounts of Old Regime tyranny and revolutionary events which provide both an apology for the Revolution and a representation of it as a sublime spectacle.

Book is in very good condition, the original calf covers are rubbed at the edges but with no loss. 223pp.

Very rare volume of this rediscovered 18th century author's most famous work.

  • Binding Condition: Good
  • Overall Condition: Good
  • Size: 17.5 x 10.5cm
  • Name: Rare Paper
  • Contact Person: Armandt Marais
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 018 294 3438
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Paypal, EFT, Bank Deposit
  • Trade Associations: A. A. Approved

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