Engraving of Joanna Baillie by H. Robinson after a portrait by Sir William Newton
|Born||September 11, 1762 |
Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland
|Died||February 23, 1851 (aged 88)|
|Notable work(s)||Plays on the Passions|
Joanna Baillie (September 11, 1762–February 23, 1851) was a Scottish poet and dramatist. Events 9 - The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends 506 - The Bishops of Visigothic Gaul Year 1762 ( MDCCLXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Bothwell is a small town in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, that lies on the right bank of the River Clyde, adjacent to Hamilton and nine miles Lanarkshire ( Siorrachd Lannraig in Gaelic) officially the County of Lanark, was formerly a county of Scotland. Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. Events 1455 - Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western Book printed from Movable 1851 ( MDCCCLI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common year Hampstead is an area of London, England, located north-west of Charing Cross. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Employment is a Contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. Nationality is a relationship between a Person and their State of Origin, Culture, association Affiliation and/or Loyalty The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Year 1790 ( MDCCXC) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Year 1849 ( MDCCCXLIX) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common Events 9 - The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ends 506 - The Bishops of Visigothic Gaul Year 1762 ( MDCCLXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year Events 1455 - Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western Book printed from Movable 1851 ( MDCCCLI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Common year Baillie was very well-known during her lifetime and, though a woman, intended her plays not for the closet but for the stage. Admired both for her literary powers and her sweetness of disposition, her cottage at Hampstead was the centre of a brilliant literary society. Baillie died at the age of 88, her faculties remaining unimpaired to the last.
Baillie was born in 1762. Her father, Rev. James Baillie (c. 1722–1778), was a Presbyterian minister and briefly, during the two years before his death, a Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow. The University of Glasgow (Oilthigh Ghlaschu was founded in 1451 in Glasgow, Scotland and along with its contemporary institutions the University of St Andrews Her mother Dorothea Hunter (c. 1721–1806) was a sister of the great physicians and anatomists, William and John Hunter. William Hunter may refer to William Hunter (anatomist (1718–1783 Scottish anatomist William Hunter (politician (1805–1886 John Hunter may refer to John Hunter (architect (1932&ndash2005 British architect and conservationist --> John Hunter (bishop The Baillies were an old Scottish family, and claimed among their ancestors the Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace. Sir William Wallace ( Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; c 1272 – 23 August 1305 was a Scottish Knight, Landowner, and Patriot
Joanna Baillie was the youngest of three children; she had had a twin sister, but this child had died unnamed a few hours after her birth. Baillie grew up in close companionship with her sister, Agnes (1760–1861), and brother, Matthew Baillie (1761–1823), who became a celebrated London physician. Matthew Baillie (1761-1823 was a Scottish Physician and Pathologist.
Baillie’s early years were marked by a passion for the outdoors. Uninterested in books, she preferred playing in the garden, riding her pony, splashing on the banks of the River Clyde, and listening to ghost stories by the fireside. The River Clyde ( Gaelic: Abhainn Chluaidh, avɪɲˈxɫ̪uəj is a major River in Scotland. Baillie’s own gift for narrative invention revealed itself early in stories told to her companions or acted out in impromptu amateur dramatics.
In 1769 the Baillies moved from Bothwell to Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, where Rev. Hamilton is a town in South Lanarkshire, in the west- Central Lowlands of Scotland. Baillie had been appointed to the collegiate church. A few years later, at the age of ten, Joanna Baillie was sent to Glasgow to attend a boarding-school known for “transforming healthy little hoydens into perfect little ladies” (Carswell 266). Glasgow (ˈglæzgoʊ is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom Her intellectual and artistic faculties were here stimulated, and she displayed a talent for drawing, considerable musical ability, and a love of mathematics. Above all, however, was her facility in the writing and acting of plays. It was in Glasgow that she visited the theatre for the first time, kindling a passion which was to continue for the rest of her life.
With the death of their father in 1778, the Baillie family found themselves with little to live on. Matthew Baillie went to Balliol College, Oxford, following in his uncles' footsteps in the study of medicine. Mrs. Baillie and her daughters retired to Long Calderwood, her family home near East Kilbride, where they led quiet lives as country gentlewomen. East Kilbride is a large suburban town in the South Lanarkshire council area of Scotland.
Dr. William Hunter of Windmill Street, London, died in 1783, leaving Matthew Baillie his house and private museum collection (which is now the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery). The University of Glasgow (Oilthigh Ghlaschu was founded in 1451 in Glasgow, Scotland and along with its contemporary institutions the University of St Andrews The University of Glasgow 's Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery is the oldest public museum in Scotland. The following year Joanna, Agnes, and their mother moved to London to keep house for Matthew. There Joanna Baillie had access to literary society through her aunt Anne Hunter, the wife of Dr. John Hunter. Anne Hunter was a poet of some renown and the hostess of a salon, which included among its circle Fanny Burney, Elizabeth Carter, and Elizabeth Montagu. For playwright Frances Burney (1776–1828 niece of novelist Fanny Burney Madame d'Arblay 1752-1840 see Frances Burney (1776–1828 Frances Burney Elizabeth Carter, ( December 16 1717 &ndash February 19 1806) was a poet classicist writer and translator and a prominent and learned member Elizabeth Montagu ( October 2, 1718 - August 25, 1800) was a British social reformer patron of the arts hostess literary critic Encouraged by her aunt’s example, Baillie began to write poetry. While at Windmill Street, Baillie also began seriously writing drama. She had a ready supply of books and studied the French authors Corneille, Racine, Molière, and Voltaire, as well as Shakespeare and the older English dramatists. Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known by his Stage name, Molière, ( January 15, 1622 – February 17 1673) was a French François-Marie Arouet ( 21 November 1694 30 May 1778) better known by the Pen name Voltaire, was a French William Shakespeare ( baptised
In 1791, Matthew Baillie married Sophia Denman, the daughter of a leading obstetrician, and relocated to the more fashionable Grosvenor Street. Mrs. Baillie and her daughters settled, after two or three moves, in Colchester. Colchester ( /ˈkəʊltʃɛstə/ is a town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester, in Essex, England. There, Joanna Baillie conceived the idea of her great work, the Plays on the Passions.
By 1802 Joanna Baillie had moved from Colchester to Hampstead, then on the outskirts of London, where she and her sister passed the remainder of their lives. Hampstead is an area of London, England, located north-west of Charing Cross. In 1806 Mrs. Baillie died. The two sisters, having inherited a small competence from their uncle Dr. William Hunter, chose not to marry. They were on intimate terms of friendship with many eminent figures in the arts and sciences, and were sociable, hospitable, and much admired and visited. Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Lucy Aikin were neighbours and close friends, and Sir Walter Scott was a regular correspondent with whom Joanna Baillie stayed in Scotland and who visited her whenever he was in London. Anna Laetitia Barbauld (bɑrˈbɔld by herself possibly, as in French ( Née Aikin (20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825 was a prominent eighteenth-century English Lucy Aikin ( 6 November 1781 - 29 January 1864) daughter of John Aikin and niece of Anna Letitia Barbauld, born at Sir Walter Scott 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 &ndash 21 September 1832 was a prolific Scottish Historical novelist and Poet popular throughout
In 1823, Baillie's much-loved brother Matthew died. His children and grandchildren continued to display the affection and pride in their aunt's achievements which had always marked the family. As she reached her seventies, Baillie experienced a yearlong period of unusual ill health which left her too weak to keep up her correspondence. However, she recovered and returned to her work.
Joanna Baillie was anxious that all her works with the exception of her theological pamphlet (see Religious writing) be collected in a single volume, and had the satisfaction of seeing this ‘great monster book’ as she called it, which appeared in 1851, shortly before she died. Though no longer robust—‘Ladies of four score and upwards cannot expect to be robust, and need not be gay. We sit by the fireside with our books’ (Carhart, 62)—she had remained in good health until the end. She died in 1851 in Hampstead, having almost reached her ninetieth year. Her sister, Agnes, lived on to be 100. Both sisters were buried alongside their mother in Hampstead parish churchyard, and in 1899 a sixteen-foot-high memorial was erected in Joanna Baillie's memory in the churchyard of her birthplace at Bothwell.
1790 • Baillie’s first publication: Poems: Wherein it is Attempted to Describe Certain Views of Nature and of Rustic Manners. Baillie later revised a selection of these early poems which were reprinted in her Fugitive Verses (1840).
• Her first poem, ‘Winter Day,’ was evocative of the winter sights and sounds in the neighbourhood of Long Calderwood.
1821 • Metrical Legends of Exalted Characters, which told in verse the heroic stories of such historical figures as William Wallace, Christopher Columbus, and Lady Grizel Baillie. Sir William Wallace ( Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; c 1272 – 23 August 1305 was a Scottish Knight, Landowner, and Patriot Christopher Columbus (1451 &ndash May 20 1506 was an Italian Navigator, colonizer Lady Grizel Baillie ( December 25, 1665 &ndash December 6, 1746) was a Scottish songwriter These were inspired in part by the huge popularity of Walter Scott's heroic ballads, her enthusiasm for which had, she admitted, made writing drama ‘less interesting for a time’ (Baillie, ‘Memoirs’).
1836 • three volumes of Dramatic Poetry.
1840 • encouraged by her old friend the banker poet Samuel Rogers, Baillie issued a new collection, Fugitive Verses, some of which were old and some recently written. Samuel Rogers ( 30 July 1763 - 18 December 1855) was an English Poet. It was generally agreed that her popular songs, especially those in Scots dialect, would live on.
1849 • Baillie published the poem Ahalya Baee for private circulation [subsequently published as Allahabad (1904)].
1790 • a tragedy, Arnold, which was never published. • ‘a serious comedy’ which was later burnt. • Rayner was written, though it was heavily revised before it was published in Miscellaneous Plays (1804).
1791 • Plays on the Passions first conceived.
1798 • the first volume of Plays on the Passions published anonymously under the title of A Series of Plays. Volume 1 consisted of Count Basil, a tragedy on love, The Tryal, a comedy on love, and De Monfort, a tragedy on hatred.
In a long introductory discourse, the author defended and explained her ambitious design to illustrate each of the deepest and strongest passions of the human mind. The plays, the author explained, were part of a larger design and were a completely original concept. They arose from a particular view of human nature in which sympathetic curiosity and observation of the movement of feeling in others were paramount. Real passion, ‘genuine and true to nature’, was to be the subject; each play was to focus on the growth of one master passion. This unusually analytic approach generated much discussion and controversy, and in “a week or two Plays on the Passions was the main topic of discussion in the best literary circles” (Carswell 273). The authorship, though at first attributed to a variety of established male and female poets, was revealed in 1800 in the title-page of the third edition.
1800 • De Monfort was produced at Drury Lane with John Kemble and Sarah Siddons in the leading parts. Sarah Siddons ( 5 July 1755 &ndash 8 June 1831) was a British actress, the best-known Tragedienne of the Splendidly staged, the play ran for eight nights but was not a theatrical success. Henriquez and The Separation were coldly received.
1802 • second volume of Plays on the Passions published under Joanna Baillie's name, with a preface which acknowledged the reception given to volume one: ‘praise mixed with a considerable portion of censure’. Volume 2 consisted of The Election, a comedy on hatred, Ethwald, a tragedy in two parts on ambition, and The Second Marriage, a comedy on ambition. Baillie herself was of the opinion that these plays, especially Ethwald, exemplified her best writing.
1804 • published a volume entitled Miscellaneous Plays: the tragedies Rayner and Constantine Paleologus, and a comedy, The Country Inn.
1810 • the Scottish-themed Family Legend, produced at Edinburgh under the enthusiastic patronage of Sir Walter Scott, had a brief though brilliant success. Edinburgh ( ˈɛdɪnb(ərə Dùn Èideann) is the Capital of Scotland and is its second largest city after Glasgow. Sir Walter Scott 1st Baronet (15 August 1771 &ndash 21 September 1832 was a prolific Scottish Historical novelist and Poet popular throughout It included a prologue by Scott and an epilogue by Henry Mackenzie. Henry Mackenzie (August 1745 - January 14, 1831) was a Scottish Novelist and miscellaneous writer was born in Edinburgh Its success encouraged the managers of the Edinburgh theatre to revive De Monfort, which was also well received.
1812 • third and final volume of Plays on the Passions published. It consisted of two gothic tragedies, Orra and The Siege, a comedy, The Alienated Manor, and a serious musical drama, The Beacon. The tragedies and comedy represented the passion of Fear, while the musical drama represented Hope. Introducing what she described as ‘probably the last volume of plays I shall ever publish’ she went on to explain that it was her intention to complete her project by writing further dramas on the passions of Remorse, Jealousy, and Revenge, but she did not intend to publish them since publication had discouraged stage production.
1815 • The Family Legend produced at Drury Lane, London. Drury Lane is a street in the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn.
1821 • De Monfort produced at Drury Lane, London, with Edmund Kean in the title role. Drury Lane is a street in the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn. Edmund Kean (March 17 1789 &ndash May 15 1833 was an English Actor, regarded in his time as the greatest ever • Constantine Paleologus, though written with John Kemble and Sarah Siddons in mind, was declined by Drury Lane. Sarah Siddons ( 5 July 1755 &ndash 8 June 1831) was a British actress, the best-known Tragedienne of the It was produced at the Surrey Theatre as a melodrama, Constantine and Valeria, and, in its original form, at Liverpool, Dublin, and Edinburgh.
1836 • three volumes of Miscellaneous Plays published. They included, along with nine other new plays, the continuation of Plays on the Passions promised earlier: a tragedy and comedy on jealousy and a tragedy on remorse. Their publication created a stir, and critics were almost universally enthusiastic and welcoming. Fraser's Magazine declared: ‘Had we heard that a MS play of Shakespeare's, or an early, but missing, novel of Scott's, had been discovered, and was already in the press, the information could not have been more welcome’ (Fraser's Magazine, 236).
Baillie's reputation does not rest entirely on her dramas; she also authored poems and songs admired for their great beauty. Considered the best of them are the Lines to Agnes Baillie on her Birthday, The Kitten, To a Child and some of her adaptations of Scottish songs, such as Woo'd and Married an'a'. Scattered throughout the dramas are also some lively and beautiful songs, The Chough and The Crow in Orra, and the lover's song in The Phantom.
In an 1804 prefatory address to the reader, Baillie defended her plays as acting plays. The criticism that she had no understanding of practical stagecraft and that her plays were torpid and dull in performance rankled throughout her life, and she was always delighted to hear of a production being mounted, no matter how humble it might be. She believed that critics had unfairly labelled her work as Closet drama, partly because she was a woman and partly because they had failed to read her prefaces with care. A closet drama is a play that is not intended to be performed onstage but read by a solitary reader or sometimes out loud in a small group perhaps in a small room called She pointed also to the conventions of the theatre in her time, when lavish spectacle on huge stages was the order of the day. Her own plays, with their attention to psychological detail, worked best, she argued, in well-lit small theatres where facial expressions could clearly be seen.
Growing up as a Presbyterian minister’s daughter, religion had always been important to Baillie. In 1826 she published The Martyr, a tragedy on religion, intended for reading only; and in 1831 she entered publicly into theological debate with a pamphlet, A view of the general tenour of the New Testament regarding the nature and dignity of Jesus Christ, in which she analysed the doctrines of the Trinitarian Order, Arianism, and Socinianism. The Order of the Holy Trinity (or Trinitarians) is a Catholic Religious order that was founded in the area of Cerfroid, some 80 km northeast Arianism is the theological teaching of Arius (c AD 250-336 who was ruled a heretic by the Christian church at the Council of Nicea. Socinianism is a form of Antitrinitarianism, named for Laelius Socinus (died 1562 in Zürich) and of his nephew Faustus Socinus
Financially secure herself, Joanna Baillie customarily gave half her earnings from her writings to charity, and engaged in many philanthropic activities. In the early 1820s she corresponded with the Sheffield campaigner James Montgomery in support of his efforts on behalf of chimney sweeps. James Montgomery ( November 4, 1771 - April 30, 1854) was a British editor and poet She declined to send a poem, fearing that was ‘just the very way to have the whole matter considered by the sober pot-boilers over the whole kingdom as a fanciful and visionary thing’ whereas ‘a plain statement of their miserable lot in prose, accompanied with a simple, reasonable plan for sweeping chimneys without them’ was far better strategically (letter, 5 Feb 1824).
Where literary matters were concerned, Joanna Baillie had a shrewd understanding of publishing as a trade marked by gender and class distinctions and driven by profit. Baillie took seriously the power her eminence gave her, and authors down on their luck, women writers, and working-class poets like the shoemaker poet, John Struthers, applied to her for assistance. She wrote letters, drew on all her contacts, and used her knowledge of the literary world either to advise or to further a less well-connected writer. In 1823, she edited and published by subscription a collection of poems by many of the leading writers of the day, in support of a widowed old school friend with a family of daughters to support.
Few women writers have received such universal commendation for their personal qualities and literary powers as Joanna Baillie. Her intelligence and integrity were allied to a modest demeanour which made her, for many, the epitome of a Christian gentlewoman. She was also shrewd, observant of human nature, and persistent to the point of obstinacy in developing her own views and opinions. Her brand of drama remained essentially unchanged throughout her life, and she took pride in having carried out her major work, the Plays on the Passions, more or less in the form she had originally conceived. Her inventive faculties were widely remarked upon by “practically everybody whose opinion on a literary matter was worth anything” (Carswell 275), and she was on friendly terms with all the leading women writers of her time.
John Stuart Mill, in his Autobiography, called Baillie's Constantine Paleologus 'one of the most glorious of human compositions' and 'one of the best dramas of the last two centuries'. John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 &ndash 8 May 1873 British Philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential
One of her few detractors was Francis Jeffrey, who in 1803 published a long condemnatory review of the Plays on the Passions in the Edinburgh Review. Francis Jeffrey Lord Jeffrey ( October 23, 1773 - January 26, 1850) was a Scottish Judge and Literary critic The Edinburgh Review, founded in 1802 was one of the most influential British Magazines of the 19th century He attacked the narrow theory, practice, and purpose of the plays; and though he also praised her ‘genius,’ Joanna Baillie marked him down as her literary enemy and refused a personal introduction. It was not until 1820 that she agreed to meet him; characteristically, they then became warm friends.
Maria Edgeworth, recording a visit in 1818, summed up her appeal for many:
Both Joanna and her sister have most agreeable and new conversation, not old, trumpery literature over again and reviews, but new circumstances worth telling, apropos to every subject that is touched upon; frank observations on character, without either ill-nature or the fear of committing themselves; no blue-stocking tittle-tattle, or habits of worshipping or being worshipped. Maria Edgeworth (1 January 1767 &ndash 22 May 1849 was an Anglo-Irish novelist (Hare, 268)
Joanna Baillie offered the literary world a new way of looking at drama and poetry. Revered by poets on both sides of the Atlantic, many of her contemporaries placed her above all women poets except Sappho. Sappho (ˈsæfoʊ in English Attic Greek el Σαπφώ sapːʰɔː Aeolic Greek el Ψάπφω) was an Ancient Greek lyric According to Harriet Martineau she had ‘enjoyed a fame almost without parallel, and … been told every day for years, through every possible channel, that she was second only to Shakespeare’ (Martineau 358). Harriet Martineau ( June 12, 1802 &ndash June 27, 1876) was an English Writer and Philosopher, renowned in her At one time her works were translated into Cingalese and German, and were performed widely in both the United States and Great Britain.
But even when Martineau met her, in the 1830s, that fame seemed to belong to a bygone era. There were no revivals of her plays in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries; and yet, as psychological studies, her tragedies would seem very suited to the intimacy of television or film. It was not until the late twentieth century that critics began to recognize the extent to which her psycholoanalytical depictions of the human psyche influenced Romantic literature. Scholars now recognize her importance as an innovator on the stage and as a dramatic theorist, and critics and literary historians of the Romantic period concerned with reassessing the place of women writers are acknowledging her significance.
See Joanna Baillie's Dramatic and Poetical Works (London, 1851).
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Playwright, Poet|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 11, 1762|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Lanarkshire, Scotland|
|DATE OF DEATH||February 23, 1851|
|PLACE OF DEATH||Hampstead, England|