Analysis Of Helen Maria Williams Peru: A Poem, In Six Cantos

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Helen Maria Williams lived in London and later Paris, but Peru: A Poem, in Six Cantos allowed her to figuratively travel across the ocean. This virtual travel enabled her to deal with the South American country of Peru as if she was actually there. Williams ' Peru: A Poem, in Six Cantos depicts the fall of Peru in great detail. The political and literal climate of Peru attracted Williams to it as a great location for a narrative poem. As she states in her Advertisement to Peru: A Poem, in Six Cantos, she wanted to depict the sufferings of “an innocent and amiable People” in the climate and familiarity of their own land, which was “entirely dissimilar to [her] own, and furnishes new and ample materials for poetic description” (vii-viii). Her description of the Peruvian landscape appears in the opening lines of Canto One with a “General Description of the Country of Peru.” The entire epic stays a narrative of the past, and yet it is a “vision, in the loco descriptive mode, of a temporal beauty and peace” (Saglia, 2005). The reader sees “lost Peruvia” already from the sea, while crossing the Atlantic to reach the shores of a land where “sweet disorder” rules. Williams chooses to describe Peru as “lost” as it acts in the preservation and antiqueness mostly associated with native and indigenious territories away from the city. The adjective also situates her epic within the area of sea discovery, for her British readers go on an adventure, although metaphorically, to a new
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