Joanna Baillie

(1762—1851) playwright and poet

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Scottish dramatist and poet. She achieved success in 1798 with her first volume of Plays on the Passions, in which each verse drama displays the effect of one particular passion: Basil, on the subject of love, and De Montfort, on hatred, were the most successful; De Montfort was produced by Kemble and Mrs Siddons in 1800. The volume brought her the friendship of Sir W. Scott. She published two further volumes of Passions (1802 and 1812), and Miscellaneous Plays (1804). Her tragedy Constantine Paleologus: or the Last of the Caesars (1804) was considered by J. S. Mill to be ‘one of the best dramas of the last two centuries’. The Family Legend, produced in 1810 with a prologue by Scott and an epilogue by H. Mackenzie, was described by Scott as a ‘complete and decided triumph’, and it established Miss Baillie as a literary and social success.

Subjects: Literature.

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