Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair

Title

Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair

Files

Document Type

Book

Description

Of Beards and Men makes the case that today’s bearded renaissance is part of a centuries-long cycle in which facial hairstyles have varied in response to changing ideals of masculinity. Christopher Oldstone-Moore explains that the clean-shaven face has been the default style throughout Western history—see Alexander the Great’s beardless face, for example, as the Greek heroic ideal. But the primacy of razors has been challenged over the years by four great bearded movements, beginning with Hadrian in the second century and stretching to today’s bristled resurgence. The clean-shaven face today, Oldstone-Moore says, has come to signify a virtuous and sociable man, whereas the beard marks someone as self-reliant and unconventional. History, then, has established specific meanings for facial hair, which both inspire and constrain a man’s choices in how he presents himself to the world.

Publication Date

2015

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Catalog Record

Publisher

The University of Chicago Press

City

Chicago

Keywords

Beards, Mustaches

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities | History