City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Helen Maria Williams (1762-1827)
Helen Maria Williams (17 June 1759 – 15 December 1827) was a British novelist, poet, and translator of French-language works. A religious dissenter, she was a supporter of abolitionism and of the ideals of the French Revolution; she was imprisoned in Paris during the Reign of Terror, but nonetheless spent much of the rest of her life in France.
A controversial figure in her own time, the young Williams was favourably portrayed in a 1787 poem by William Wordsworth, but (especially at the height of the French Revolution) she was portrayed by other writers as irresponsibly politically radical and even as sexually wanton.