This essay considers Joanna Baillie's 1804 Rayner, a play about a public execution that never actually occurs, in the context of the dynamics of punishment in the romantic period. Analyzing how the play depicts the scaffold but renders it inaccessible by refusing to represent the death it portends, I argue that Baillie develops a kind of romantic spectacle that moves from the visual to the imaginary. Weaning spectators from their reliance on external forms, it effects their moral regulation by disciplining the imagination to produce such terrifying images on its own.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/10509580903557011
Journal European Romantic Review
Citation
Murray, J. (2010). Joanna Baillie's Rayner and romantic spectacle. European Romantic Review (Vol. 21, pp. 65–76). doi:10.1080/10509580903557011