II. Multiple Voices in the Third and Fourth Volumes of Letters
III. A Highly Judgmental and Critical Voice in the Third Volume of Letters
IV. Synthesising the Critical with the Sentimental Voice in the Fourth Volume of Letters
This paper discusses Helen Maria Williams’s changing voices in the third and fourth volumes of Letters from France (1793). Published anonymously, the third and fourth of volumes of Letters were written by Williams and other male collaborators, including John Hurford Stone and Thomas Christie. In light of the uncertainty about which letters were written by Williams and which by her collaborators, it is crucial to distinguish Williams’s voices from others in these volumes. This research reviews the authorship of the third and fourth volumes of Letters in order to locate Williams’s voices. The paper then explores how she varies her voices in the third volume to reveal the involvement of the Mountain, a radical political group involved in the French Revolution, in the 1792 September Massacres, compared to her previous two volumes of Letters. Even between the third and fourth volumes, which were published together in the same year, Williams transforms her voices in the fourth volume and uses different strategies to show her opinion on the execution of Louis XVI. By carefully tracing the changing voices in these volumes, this paper demonstrates the way in which Williams develops herself as a political commentator on the French Revolution.
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