Naturalizing Empire: Helen Maria Williams’s <i>Peru</i> and the British Ascendancy in Spanish America

Rebecca Cole Heinowitz

in Spanish America and British Romanticism, 1777-1826

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638680
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651702 | DOI:
Naturalizing Empire: Helen Maria Williams’s Peru and the British Ascendancy in Spanish America

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This chapter studies Peru, an epic romance written by Helen Maria Williams. It promotes the 1780–2 Peruvian revolt that was led by Túpac Amaru II, and places it against the historical backdrop of Britain's increasing economic and political involvement with Spanish America. This reveals the determination of a problematic slippage between the commercial and colonialist interests of Britain in the Spanish colonies. It then examines the implications of the omission of any celebration of commerce from Williams's poem. This chapter suggests that Williams's commitment with the sentimental and patriotic poetry of the eighteenth century encouraged a mistrust of commerce as a humanizing means of exchange.

Keywords: Peru; Helen Maria Williams; Peruvian revolt; commercial interests; colonialist interests; commerce; means of exchange; involvement

Chapter.  12864 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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