Who Was Joanna Baillie? Google Doodle Remembers Scottish Poet And Descendent Of Sir William Wallace

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GOOGLE is today paying tribute to Scottish playwright, poet and philanthropist Joanna Baillie with one of its famous Google Doodles.

But who is she? And who is her famous relative?

The Mitchell Library Google Doodle is celebrating the birthday of Scottish poet Joanna Baillie

Who is Joanna Baillie?

Born in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, on September 11, 1762, Joanna Baillie was a Scottish poet and playwright, known for Plays on the Passions and Fugitive Verses.

She was the youngest of three siblings and the daughter of a Presbyterian minister whose family could trace its roots back to the legendary Scottish warrior Sir William Wallace.

As a child, she enjoyed staging theatrical productions with her fellow classmates and continued this during her days at a Glasgow boarding school.

She claims she was unable to read until she was at least nine years old, but instead displayed a talent for drawing, considerable musical ability and a love of mathematics.

As she got older, her facility in the writing and acting of plays shone through and it was in Glasgow that she visited the theatre for the first time, kindling a lifelong passion for the stage.

In 1784, she moved to Fitzrovia, London, with her mother – a move which gave her access to the capital’s literary circle.

She soon met novelist Fanny Burney who encouraged her to follow her dreams, and soon after, Baillie penned her first poem Winter Day.

She decided to pursue an education in drama and began reading Shakespeare, Racine, Voltaire and Moliere.

After the family moved to Colchester in 1791, Baillie came up with the concept of Plays on the Passion and spent the following decade writing Basil, The Tryal and De Monfort, which would comprise the first published volume of Passions in 1798.

She relocated to Hamsptead and remained there with her sister Agnes following their mother’s death in 1806.

Baillie was admired throughout her lifetime for her intelligence, wit and her eye for human frailty.

Known as one of the most respected writers of her period, Baillie was also hailed as the finest female poet since Sappho and was celebrated by everyone from William Wordsworth and Lord Byron to John Stuart Mill and Maria Edgeworth.

She was also known for her generous philanthropic work on behalf of the poor.

Joanna Baillie died at her Hampstead home on February 23, 1851, at the age of 88.

Google The Scottish playwright, poet and philanthropist was born in Lanarkshire on September 11, 1762

What was her most famous work?

Baillie was best knwon for her three volumes of Plays on the Passions and Fugitive Verses.

Baillie’s work explored moral philosophy and gothic fiction, which combines fiction, horror, death and sometimes romance.

Plays on the Passions “unveiled the human mind under the dominion of those strong and fixed passions” through a series of astute female-led comedies and tragedies.

The first volume of Passions was anonymously published in 1798, under the title of A Series of Plays.

Volume One consisted of Count Basil, a tragedy on love, The Tryal, a comedy on love, and De Monfort, a tragedy on hatred.

In a long introductory discourse, the author defended and explained her ambitious design to illustrate each of the deepest and strongest passions of the human mind.

The author explained that the plays were part of a larger design and were a completely original concept which arose from a particular view of human nature in which sympathetic curiosity and observation of the movement of feeling in others were paramount.

Baillie explained that real passion, “genuine and true to nature” was to be the subject of each instalment, with each play focusing on the growth of one master passion.

London’s citizens in their entirety excitedly tried to figure out who the author could be.

In fact, the authorship was attributed to a male author for some time until someone pointed out that all of the protagonists were middle-aged women, rarely the muses of male authors.

Baillie finally revealed herself as the author in 1800 in the title-page of the third edition.

Google Google celebrated the Autumn Equinox with an appropriately themed doodle

What is a Google Doodle?

In 1998, the search engine founders Larry and Sergey drew a stick figure behind the second ‘o’ of Google as a message to that they were out of office at the Burning Man festival and with that, Google Doodles were born.

The company decided that they should decorate the logo to mark cultural moments and it soon became clear that users really enjoyed the change to the Google homepage.

In that same year, a turkey was added to Thanksgiving and two pumpkins appeared as the ‘o’s for Halloween the following year.

Now, there is a full team of doodlers, illustrators, graphic designers, animators and classically trained artists who help create what you see on those days.




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