Biography (Critical Survey of Drama, Second Revised Edition)
Joanna Baillie was born to Dorothea Hunter Baillie and the Reverend James Baillie on September 11, 1762, in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Her twin sister died a few hours later. Joanna had an older sister, Agnes, and an older brother, Matthew. In 1772, Joanna and Agnes were sent to boarding school in Glasgow. Three years later, their father became professor of divinity at Glasgow University. After his brother-in-law’s death in 1778, Dorothea’s brother provided a home for the family at Long Calderwood, Scotland, and took Matthew into his medical school in London. After his uncle’s death, having inherited both the school and his home, Matthew brought his mother and his sisters to London. After Dorothea died in 1806, the two sisters made their permanent home in Hampstead. Neither of them married.
Joanna Baillie had enjoyed reading plays and going to the theater in Glasgow. However, in London, her interest became a passion. Nine months after her arrival, Baillie began to write her first dramatic work. However, it was almost a decade and a half before her first volume of plays was published anonymously, arousing wild speculation as to its authorship. Not until 1800, when a third edition of that volume came out, did the public learn that the author was not an established man of letters or even a well-known woman writer but a modest Scottish spinster. Baillie was now famous.
After her third and final volume of Plays on the Passions...
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