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Pens and Needles: Women's Textualities in Early Modern England (Material Texts) Hardcover – July 6, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0812242386 ISBN-10: 0812242386 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: Material Texts
  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812242386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812242386
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,781,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Susan Frye's book is a beautiful and powerful contribution to scholarship on early modern women's material culture. . . . No other book covers such ground; Pens and Needles is an invaluable resource for art historians, social historians, literary critics, and anyone interested in the material world that early modern women made."—American Historical Review

"Susan Frye's book is most fascinating in drawing out the histories and texts, both written and sewn, of less well-known women, and showing that they saw their needlework as equally articulate, valuable, and artful as their words."—TLS

"Susan Frye's meticulously researched, beautifully illustrated, and brilliantly titled Pens and Needles makes a significant addition to a growing subfield in early modern gender studies: the expressive arts of women's needlework, which Frye sees as a mode of both female self-fashioning and creative communication."—Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"Frye beautifully succeeds in aligning the different material practices, especially in the surprising discovery of a new portrait of Mary Queen of Scots embroidered by Bess of Hardwick."—Maureen Quilligan, Duke University

"No other book analyzes the combination of visual, textile, and textual modes in relation to early modern women as this one does. Frye draws on a vast range of sources, from comments on the minutiae of Shakespeare's plays, to contemporary translations of the poems of Mary Stuart, to a range of theorists including Michel de Certeau, Marcel Mauss and Karl Marx, to make a complex and convincing argument about women's consciousness and work."—Ann Rosalind Jones, Smith College

About the Author

Susan Frye is Professor of English at the University of Wyoming and author of Elizabeth I: The Competition for Representation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In this book Frye looks at the ways textiles function as "tools to express and explore identity" (p. 134), and how the combination of "visual and verbal media sustained and enriched everyday lives" (p. 133). Frye weaves together many different aspects of texts, textiles, and the lives of Northern/British Renaissance women, addressing power and reciprocity, the miniature and excess, the in/visible nature of women's domestic labour, the role of textiles and textile production in crossing and shifting social boundaries, textiles as literary metaphor, and the way women appropriated "suitable" textile narratives to create new meanings.

My personal favourite was a reading of how textiles function within Shakespeare's Othello and Cymbeline: I am sadly ignorant about Shakespeare (and literature), and this was a marvellous eye-opener.

The book is easy to read, entertaining, and footnoted in extensive detail. Everyone with an interest in textiles must read this.
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Pens and Needles: Women's Textualities in Early Modern England (Material Texts)
This item: Pens and Needles: Women's Textualities in Early Modern England (Material Texts)
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