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Joanna Baillie

Joanna BaillieJoanna BaillieScottish poet and playwright Joanna Baillie (1762–1851) was so admired in her lifetime that her plays were compared to Shakespeare’s. Her most famous work was a set of comedies and tragedies called Plays on the Passions (1798–1812). Baillie was interested in the inner workings of people’s minds, and the way that they could be driven to carry out terrible actions by feelings such as jealousy or pride. Each play from Plays on the Passions explores a different state of mind, such as fear, love or hatred. De Monfort (1821) features a man who plots to kill his childhood rival. Baillie’s uncles were the famous physicians William and John Hunter. Their work on human anatomy fascinated Baillie throughout her life, and inspired her to write about diseases of the body and mind.

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