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 heroines 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.
low-browed man never portrayed all the workings, passions, and foibles of our natures, nor possessed such a brilliant imagination as our immortal bard’.
The signifying forehead, though, is not the unique property of the physiognomist, amateur or professional. The brow's positioning at the junction of face and scalp facilitates its parallel signification in the rather more elaborate pseudoscience of phrenology. The two pseudosciences are, at times, almost congruent not merely in terms of their specific
sudden impulse of passion.’
This ‘sudden impulse of passion’, though, may in itself be problematic. If such a passion cannot be confidently associated with an organ that is capable of generating extremes of behaviour, then phrenology is essentially redundant as both a regular science and a reliable tool in jurisprudence. The two phrenologists in attendance upon Thurtell's corpse concur with regard to the comparative lack of development exhibited by the most appropriate organ that might motivate such a ‘passion’, that of destructiveness – originally
shake the earth … Providence seems, at first view, to have abandoned public affairs to the misrule of human passions’. However, ‘from the midst of this confusion, order is often made to spring’. Violent upheavals roused nations from ‘dangerous lethargy’, drew forth ‘public spirit’, and inspired ‘larger views of national happiness’. 74 Eighteenth-century preachers continued to warn of divine wrath, but they communicated a new sense that peace and harmony were achievable on earth.
Enlightenment discourses about providence had an enduring influence in social and
It is very difficult to find proper terms; those of affection, passion, memory, &c. are not facts, they are only names of modes of the primitive faculties. In like manner, quietness, temperance, &c. only mean the different degrees of activity in the faculty. Passion is the highest degree of activity in any faculty; a man devoted to music, painting, &c. is passionately fond of those arts; and so of all others. Pleasure or the state of being pleased does not indicate the faculty or the activity of the faculty; it is therefore only a mode of activity. A religious man
Phrenology in Britain during the first decade of the nineteenth century
materialism within the nascent system. Bojanus's rejection of the charge of materialism is founded upon the contention that ‘the will still remains entire; it is it which ought to counterbalance the action of the organs; and the passions ought to be restrained by morality’. Clearly, no consideration is here given by Gall's interpreter to the less restrained passions of the insane or pathologically obsessive, not indeed is there any acknowledgement that a practitioner who has knowledge of a subject's skull might potentially become a manipulator of the qualities apparently
Mesmerism, celebrity practitioners and the schism of 1842–3
The whole performance is redolent of the exaggeration of popular stagecraft, the emotions and passions being delineated through gestures that feel scripted and conventional rather than spontaneous.
Though apparently ‘tickled’ by the entranced subject's mimicry of various harmless sounds and foreign words, the ‘respectable’ audience's reaction to this exhibition of theft is not reported. The implications of the latter, though, are worthy of further attention. Even though there is no suggestion that Hall has himself specifically instructed his
tale of the scientist and his creation, it is a story about bodies and flesh, about heightened emotions and passions, about shameful secrecy and paradigm-changing genius.
At the same time, reworkings of Frankenstein can be as downright silly as one might possibly wish: countless sketch shows have ‘hit the ground running’ with instantly recognisable scenarios of mad scientists and their creations or direct parodies through the appropriation of the iconography of Karloff and the Universal Pictures style. The successful and elaborate parody
Geraldine and Christabel herself, while the countless
responses, parodies and rewritings that the poem occasioned would
variously eradicate, intensify or reformulate the romance’s queer
desirings. More recently, postmodern appropriations of the formal
features of Gothic romance by, say, Angela Carter in The Passion of
the New Eve (1977) or Jeanette Winterson in Sexing the
Cherry (1989) would
bravery in politics and war are due to a woman's influence, and are endeavoured to please her will. She adds:
Tho’ but the footstool of a royal king,
When we betray and trip him to the earth
His crown doth roll beneath us. – Horses have not
Such power to grace their lords or break their necks
As we, for we add passion to our power.
They think us gentle, second unto them,
And blind them to