Mary Lamb is best known as the co-author with her brother, Charles, of Tales From Shakespear [sic] (1807). But she achieved a diﬀerent kind of notoriety in her lifetime. In 1789 armed with a sewing scissors, and in a rage apparently induced by needlework, she savagely attacked and murdered her own mother (Anthony 1945: 93-4; Wolfson 1990: 24). In light of this murderous frenzy, her declaration in 1815 that: “Needlework and intellectual improvement are naturally in a state of warfare�? is surely something of an understatement. Nor did this put an end to Lamb’s sewing career, and in a letter to Sarah Stoddart she reports (ominously) that she is “busy making waistcoats and plotting new work to succeed the Tales�? (Wolfson 1990: 16). Nonetheless, for Lamb, like her nineteenth-century contemporaries, writing was accorded creative and aesthetic value while sewing was either a labor of economic necessity or part of “that train of female garniture which passeth by the name of accomplishments�? (Wolfson 1990: 99).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)