Crossings in Text and Textile explores the diverse range of transatlantic representations of clothing in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature. This collection of essays demonstrates that fashion history and literary history, when examined together, prompt fresh understandings of the complexities of race, class, and sexual identity. By bridging material culture and discourse, Crossings establishes the significance of fashion—while neglecting none of its aesthetic appeal—to offer historicized readings on a variety of topics, from Jane Austen’s nuanced display of social interactions through the economics of muslin to the 1871 Park and Boulton cross-dressing trial and Jessie Fauset’s selection of apparel to express racial power. The geographic span of textiles from different economic areas around the globe includes Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. By making use of transatlantic texts to consider the political and social positioning of both workers and consumers, the collection further expands upon the emerging cross-disciplinary study of reading dress.
A true “state of the field” work, Crossings in Text and Textile charts new scholarly ground at the nexus between fashion, textiles, and literature, appealing to a broad interdisciplinary audience of scholars and students.