Skip to content

Novel Craft

51H-11Dc79L._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_ Novel Craft explores the world of amateur domestic handicrafts – the wildly popular form of handicraft against which William Morris, John Ruskin, and the Arts and Crafts movement rebelled. I focus on the ‘craft paradigm,’ the central values of amateur handicraft: imitation, ephemerality, preservation, and quasi-industrial reproduction. These constitute a set of values that would disappear once Arts and Crafts taught people to valorize the authentic, handmade, and natural. Moreover, handicraft participated in a fascinating parallel economy that emulated but also critiqued mainstream industrialism. I read Cranford, Our Mutual Friend, The Daisy Chain, amongst other novels, to show how much the values associated with amateur handicraft dominated Victorian ideas about artistic production, and how a woman’s mode of creative labor might have filtered into the novel form.

Novel Craft: Victorian Domestic Handicraft and Nineteenth-Century Fiction


Sharon Marcus, Nineteenth-Century Literature NCLReview

Clive Edwards, Nineteenth-Century Contexts NCCReview

Patricia Zakreski, Textual Practice TextualPracticeReview

Suzanne Daly, Victorian Studies VSReview

Clare Simmons, Women’s Writing WomensWritingRev

Trev Broughton, The Times Literary Supplement

Janice Holland, Victorian Review VictorianReview

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message