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Ralph Barnes Grindrod's Slaves of the Needle: An Electronic Scholarly Edition
(University of Waterloo, 2006)
This thesis involves both editorial practice and literary analysis. In order to establish an editorial framework for the electronic scholarly edition of Dr. Ralph Barnes Grindrod's pamphlet Slaves of the Needle, I examine current issues in electronic textual editing. In the electronic scholarly edition, approximately twelve of the pamphlet's thirty-five pages are transcribed and encoded using TEI-based code. The second aspect of my master's thesis concerns the depiction of seamstresses in nineteenth-century British literature. Slaves of the Needle provides a non-fiction counterpart to the fictional seamstresses of mid-nineteenth-century literature. Using Slaves of the Needle as a basis for evaluating the accuracy of mid-nineteenth-century characterizations of seamstresses, I show that authors such as Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Ernest Jones, and Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna were familiar with the working conditions of seamstresses. By conducting a close reading of certain representations of the seamstress in both fiction and non-fiction, I develop a theory of why the depiction of some aspects of the seamstress story are more accurate than others....