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The Empire of Home: Global Domestic Objects and The Female American (1767)

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Publication details

JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Dec 2015
DatePublished (current) - 2017
Issue number1
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)67-87
Early online date29/12/15
Original languageEnglish


This article studies the representation of global domestic objects and the treatment of dress and domesticity in The Female American (1767). I argue that the novel's biracial heroine exploits portable goods, such as religious vestments, in her imperialist missionary scheme. This fictional re-imagining of feminine material culture echoes, but remains distinct from, period examples of needlework and handicrafts that document knowledge of empire and colonisation. Whereas embroidery and novels often schooled women in the pleasures of domesticity, compelling their attention inwards, The Female American suggests a new model of heroic femininity that evades domestic gender ideologies.

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