Abstract

Hewitt, "Joanna Baillie's Ecotopian Comedies"

This essay situates a group of Joanna Baillie’s comedies at the intersection of utopian and ecocritical studies, in the conceptual space where they rethink the dichotomy between nature and culture. Drawing analogies between the “Characteristic Comedy” elaborated in Baillie’s _Introductory Discourse_ and the _Comedy of Survival_ theorized by Joseph Meeker, Hewitt argues that Baillie’s plays seek to identify and encourage traits, including sympathy, conducive to the co-survival of humans in all the environments (social and physical) they occupy. Through examples from her _Series of Plays_, Hewitt investigates how these comedies replace aggressive with cooperative relations implying that humans can establish more responsible households in the world.