Document Type




Format of Original

17 p.

Publication Date



Manchester University Press

Source Publication

Gothic Studies

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.7227/GS.3.2.2


At the time of their publication, Joanna Baillie's dramas were considered to be works of genius in their sustained and powerful fixation on one of the several possible human passions. In their very focus on these intense emotions, however, the plays actually reified the dangers inherent in the extremes of human passion. In other words, by fixing her attention on the passions, Baillie revealed that the emotions she was supposedly focused on often masked other, even more powerful desires. Thus, in Orra fear is the result of the heroine's hatred of male dominance, while in De Monfort hatred is shown to be the symptom of incestuous love. But what has not been noticed about Baillie's plays is their almost obsessive interest in dead, abjected male bodies. Both plays present a very gothic vision of the indestructible patriarchy, an uncanny phallic power that cannot die, that persistently resurrects and feeds on itself or the legends that it has constructed.


Accepted version. Gothic Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2 (August 2001): 117-133. DOI: 10.7227/GS.3.2.2. © Manchester University Press 2001. Used with permission.