Gender in Joanna Baillie's Drama Analytical Essay by scribbler

Gender in Joanna Baillie's Drama
An in-depth examination of the feminism present in Joanna Baillie's plays.
# 152917 | 4,730 words | 19 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2013 in Drama and Theater (English) , History (British) , Women Studies (Historical Figures)

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This paper attempts to explore how Joanna Baillie constructed a unique counter-public sphere of female subjectivity in order to revise her era's social constructions of gender.
The paper looks at the time in which Baillie lived and highlights the feminist theme in her writing, examining her plays "Count Basil" and "Plays on the Passions" amongst others, and pointing out the extensive examination of gender and gender roles in the genre of Gothic literature. The paper shows how Baillie both challenges traditional gender definitions and supports the thesis that men and women are equally capable of reasoned thought and action.

From the Paper:

"Joanna Baillie burst onto the London theatre scene in 1798 with her first volume of Plays on the Passions, consisting of De Monfort, Count Basil, and The Tryal; she was an astounding success. However, when she published her three volume series, Dramas, in 1836, she saw that the excitement about her work, had turned to disappointment. She was obviously frustrated by the lack of success of her later works, but she was aware of the difficult task in which she had undertaken throughout the course of her prolific career (Colon 117b). Throughout her plays, Baillie questions whether moral reform can effectively occur without having to resort to manipulation, which endangers the individual freedom and responsibility that she believes are vital for real transformation to happen (117b). She also recognizes that the whole notion of moral reform becomes even more difficult when put in the context of the principles of domestic ideology that were starting to saturate her society. In works such as The Dream, The Homicide, The Second Marriage, and Ethwald, Baillie questions whether a separation of spheres is really needed for moral reform, suggesting that this separation might simply add to the passions linked to masculinity without giving the domestic sphere any power to curb them (117b)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baillie, Joanna. Plays on the Passions. Buffalo, NY: Broadview Press, 2001.
  • Burroughs, Catherine. Closet Stages: Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.
  • Burroughs, Catherine. Women in British Romantic Theatre: Drama, Performance, and Society, 1790-1840. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • Colley, Linda. Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1839. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Colon, Christine. "Christianity and Colonial Discourse in Joanna Baillie's The Bride." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 2002. (a)

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Gender in Joanna Baillie's Drama (2013, April 30) Retrieved May 27, 2023, from

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"Gender in Joanna Baillie's Drama" 30 April 2013. Web. 27 May. 2023. <>