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The “Original” Journals of Katherine Wilmot: Women’s Travel Writing in the Salon of Helen Maria Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>European Romantic Review
Issue number5-6
Volume30
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)615-637
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/11/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This article discusses the implications of a previously unknown Romantic-period manuscript by Anglo-Irish traveler Katherine Wilmot (1773–1824). A later version of Wilmot’s epistolary travelogue of 1801–03 has been valued as an artifact of British experience abroad during the Peace of Amiens for its descriptions of Napoleonic Paris. Yet the newly discovered draft reveals a deeper assimilation within and sympathy towards the radical political and literary networks Wilmot documented, as well as a budding relationship with author and salonnière Helen Maria Williams that is occluded from the later narrative. This article examines the complex choices surrounding authorship for British women abroad in the period by considering a refused invitation that Wilmot submit writing to The English Press, the publishing venture of Williams and her companion John Hurford Stone. The article details Wilmot’s evolving writing in terms of Williams’s influence, outlining how British women travel writers reshaped their experiences to meet the expectations of readers at home while also considering the impact of sedition, gendered agency, and political affinity on the production and reception of their writing.