Gender and the Formation of Taste in Eighteenth-Century Britain: The Analysis of Beauty
Beauty is one of the most important and intriguing ideas in eighteenth-century culture. In Gender and the Formation of Taste in Eighteenth-Century Britain Robert Jones provides a fresh understanding of how emergent critical discourses negotiated with earlier accounts of taste and beauty in order to redefine culture in line with the polite virtues of the urban middle classes. Crucially, the ability to form opinions on questions of beauty, and the capacity to enter into debates on its nature, was thought to characterise those able to participate in cultural discourse. Furthermore, the term 'beauty' was frequently invoked, in various and contradictory ways, to determine acceptable behaviour for women. In his book, Jones discusses a wide range of material, including philosophical texts by William Hogarth and Edmund Burke and Joshua Reynolds, novels by Charlotte Lennox and Sarah Scott, and the many representations of the celebrated beauty Elizabeth Gunning.
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