This paper is the outcome of a series of seminars dedicated to the reading of Joanna Baillie’s Gothic – or perhaps post-Gothic – play Witchcraft, included in the third volume of her 1836 collection of Miscellaneous Plays. I speak of reading, since this is the dimension we are generally used to exploiting when teaching drama, while conscious of the specific critical instruments we require when handling dramatic forms. Thomas C. Crochunis, debating the «function of the dramatic closet at the present time», wonders where «literature studies classrooms [are] in relation to the theatre», and finds the answer to this question to be «in the closet that was built within the Romantic house of literariness», thus pointing out a sort of «resistance» to theatre, in a sense the tendency to de-theatricalize theatre, conversely highlighting the literary quality of the plays themselves, which has proved to be a cultural habit handed down from the Romantic age, as well as a common practice in academic studies and teaching activities. One cannot not fail to appreciate the theatricality of Baillie's play – i.e. its quality as a piece of writing meant to be performed on stage – which is closely connected with the use Baillie makes of the conventions of the Gothic, to the end of exploring a historical phenomenon and its implications in terms of individual psychic response, and where the inquiring into the modes of its representation plays a fundamental role, as this essay intends to show.

“Ye will discern mist and mystery at last”: The Gothic Laid Bare in Joanna’s Baillie’s _Witchcraft_”

DELLAROSA, Franca
2006

Abstract

This paper is the outcome of a series of seminars dedicated to the reading of Joanna Baillie’s Gothic – or perhaps post-Gothic – play Witchcraft, included in the third volume of her 1836 collection of Miscellaneous Plays. I speak of reading, since this is the dimension we are generally used to exploiting when teaching drama, while conscious of the specific critical instruments we require when handling dramatic forms. Thomas C. Crochunis, debating the «function of the dramatic closet at the present time», wonders where «literature studies classrooms [are] in relation to the theatre», and finds the answer to this question to be «in the closet that was built within the Romantic house of literariness», thus pointing out a sort of «resistance» to theatre, in a sense the tendency to de-theatricalize theatre, conversely highlighting the literary quality of the plays themselves, which has proved to be a cultural habit handed down from the Romantic age, as well as a common practice in academic studies and teaching activities. One cannot not fail to appreciate the theatricality of Baillie's play – i.e. its quality as a piece of writing meant to be performed on stage – which is closely connected with the use Baillie makes of the conventions of the Gothic, to the end of exploring a historical phenomenon and its implications in terms of individual psychic response, and where the inquiring into the modes of its representation plays a fundamental role, as this essay intends to show.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/18129
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