Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Catherine Ingrassia

Second Advisor

Rivka Swenson

Third Advisor

Mary Caton Lingold

Fourth Advisor

Carolyn Eastman


This thesis attends to the appearance of needlework within early eighteenth-century British women's writing. The central goal of this work is to complicate the seemingly oppositional relationship between the needle and the quill, as applied to women surrendering needlework for written work. Popular representations of needlework within early novels demonstrate an elision between text and textile. Further, both female-authored work and the lack of surviving embroideries elucidate the ephemerality of what is broadly defined as "Women's Work." I focus on texts between 1700-1750, however the material examples of embroidery were created as early as 1570. This timeline helps illuminate the tradition of needlework in which women workers interact. In addition to gender, this thesis scrutinizes the impact of class- and cultural-others within the nascent British imperialistic patriarchal marketplace.


© Jane Harwell

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Date of Submission


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