A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Baillie, Joanna

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Baillie, Joanna (1762-1851). -- Dramatist and poetess, dau. of the minister of Bothwell, afterwards Professor of Divinity at Glasgow. Her mother was a sister of the great anatomists, William and John Hunter, and her brother was the celebrated physician, Matthew B., of London. She received a thorough education at Glasgow, and at an early age went to London, where the remainder of her long, happy, and honoured, though uneventful, life was passed. In 1798, when she was 36, the first vol. of her Plays on the Passions appeared, and was received with much favour, other two vols. followed in 1802 and 1812, and she also produced Miscellaneous Plays in 1804, and 3 vols. of Dramatic Poetry in 1836. In all her works there are many passages of true and impressive poetry, but the idea underlying her Plays on the Passions, that, namely, of exhibiting the principal character as acting under the exclusive influence of one passion, is artificial and untrue to nature.