Emily Dickinson and the Labor of Clothing
Becoming Modern/Reading Dress
Published by: University of New Hampshire Press
268 Pages, 7.00 x 10.00 x 1.10 in
- Published: November 2009
Daneen Wardrop's Emily Dickinson and the Labor of Clothing begins by identifying and using the dating tools of fashion to place the references to clothing in Dickinson's letters and poems, and to locate her social standing through examining her fashion choices in the iconic daguerreotype. In addition to detailing the poetics of fashion in Dickinson's work, the author argues that close examination of Dickinson and fashion cannot be separated from the changing ways that garments were produced during the nineteenth century, embracing issues of domestic labor, the Lowell textile mills, and the Amherst industry of the Hills Hat Factory located almost next door to Dickinson's Homestead. The recent retrieval of clothing from approximately thirty trunks found in the attic of the Evergreens house, which formerly belonged to Dickinson's brother and sister-in-law, further enhances this remarkable and original interdisciplinary work.
"A dazzling, delightful study of the impact of textiles and fashion on the US's most enigmatic poet. . . . Wardrop offers context by exploring the market economy of the mid-to-late-19th century, the textile manufacturing industry in Amherst during Dickinson's lifetime, and the depiction of garments in Dickinson's poetry and letters. Beautifully illustrated and featuring helpful notes and a well-constructed index, this book is by turns fascinating, illuminating, and undeniably original. . . . Highly recommended."—CHOICE
"This is an impressive work, with sharp, informative, and useful writing. When Wardrop states that her manuscript presents a very different Emily Dickinson, she does not overstate. Rather than critique existing secondary material on Dickinson, however, she creates the new persona through providing information very few of us have known. This reading of Emily Dickinson in her time and her contexts—biographical as well as cultural—is truly valuable."—Linda Wagner-Martin, Frank Borden Hanes Professor of English and Comparative Literature, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill