Further Letters of Joanna Baillie

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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 296pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

Scottish playwright and poet Joanna Baillie (1762-1851) is a key literary figure of the British Romantic era. Scholars have argued for her importance as a forceful and original playwright, a major poet of Scottish songs and ballads, and a passionate writer on aesthetic and theological issues. In recent years her writings have returned to print, her plays have been performed in North America and the United Kingdom, and she has been the subject of several monographs and a biography.

For this edition of Further Letters, Thomas McLean has located, transcribed, and annotated some 230 new letters from collections in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. He has supplemented these manuscript letters with 37 letters previously printed in 19th- and early 20th-century sources but now presumed lost.

This new work extends Judith Bailey Slagle's two-volume Collected Letters (FDUP, 1999), providing new information regarding Baillie's relationship with her contemporaries, her publishers, and the London theatre world. But it also stands alone as a five-decade epistolary overview of Baillie and her times.

The earliest letter dates from 1800, not long after Baillie had announced her authorship of the first volume of Plays on the Passions. The last dates only a few weeks before her death in 1851.

Baillie's circle of friends was impressive and included many well-known writers, artists, theologians, scientists, and surgeons. This new edition includes significant letters written to major literary figures like Walter Scott, Robert Southey, Felicia Hemans, and Anna Jameson. A series of letters to the actors George and Sarah Bartley gives new insights into Baillie's relationship with the London theatre. Letters to contemporary Scottish writers, including Anne Bannerman, Susan Ferrier, Anne Grant, and Hector Macneill extend our knowledge of Baillie's relationships with literary Scotland. Baillie's associations with American writers, and especially those of the New England Unitarian community, are extended here in new letters to Nathaniel Parker Willis, Charles Sumner, Catherine Sedgwick, and Joseph Tuckerman, among others.

Letters to leading publishers and close friends give new information about the composition of several of Baillie's plays, and further evidence of the challenges faced by 19th-century women writers. Baillie comments on significant Romantic-era works including Southey's 'Cataracts of Lodore', Lord Byron's Childe Harold, Hemans' Records of Woman, and Anna Barbauld's Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, and she presents memorable descriptions of Sarah Siddons, William Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, and George Crabbe.

Taken together, this edition of Baillie's correspondence offers a remarkable five-decade portrait of an artist engaged with the most significant literary, religious, and political issues of her day. Those interested in Scottish literature, British theatre, or 19th-century women writers will find these wide-ranging letters informative and fascinating.

Thomas McLean is a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
^ Biography & Autobiography ^

(9780838641491)

SKU 9780838641491
Barcode # 9780838641491
Artist / Author Thomas MCLEAN (editor)

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