Consuming female beauty: British literature and periodicals, 1840-1914

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The first comprehensive account of female beauty in nineteenth-century British print culture
Draws on an extensive and diverse range of nineteenth- and early-twentieth century print materials, such as women’s magazines, beauty manuals, advertising and fiction, a significant proportion of which are rare archival sources that have not been discussed in existing scholarship
Analyses how consumer culture and the emergence of the celebrity transformed and reshaped ideals about female beauty and femininity, providing a greater focus on beauty in popular culture
Provides a historical context for understanding the origin of modern ideas about female appearance relating to cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, skin lightening, and body shape
Pinpointing how consumer culture transformed female beauty ideals during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this study documents the movement from traditional views about beauty in relation to nature, God, morality and character to a modern conception of beauty as produced in and through consumer culture. While beauty has often been approached in relation to aestheticism and the visual arts in this period, this monograph offers a new and significant focus on how beauty was reshaped in girls’ and women’s magazines, beauty manuals and fiction during the rise of consumer culture. These archival sources reveal important historical changes in how femininity was shaped and illuminate how contemporary ideas of female beauty, and the methods by which they are disseminated, originated in seismic shifts in nineteenth-century print culture.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh UK
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages202
ISBN (Electronic)9781474470124
ISBN (Print)9781474470094, 9781474470117
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Publication series

NameGender and the Body in Literature and Culture

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