The Political Economy of Beauty and Mansfield Park

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Austen critiques the political economy of beauty in Mansfield Park. The Regency beauty myth adopts a holistic outlook to emphasize good looks and accomplishments, family lineage and connections, polite manners and elegant lifestyles. The highborn singled out the love of rituals and ceremonials. The middle class followed the ― tyranny of taste, and gentlemanly capitalism transformed England to become what Adam Smith called a "nation of shopkeepers". In wartime England, the Tory administration attacked the macaronic style, and feared the corruptive influence of "effeminate luxury". Austen‘s family background prompted her to emphasize usefulness and productivity. There is great beauty in utility, and this beauty led to the emergence of Britain as a powerful, maritime empire.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Event15th Annual International Conference on Literature - Athens, Greece
Duration: 30 May 20222 Jun 2022


Conference15th Annual International Conference on Literature
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