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

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