The Philosophy of Beards, Hardback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


'The absence of Beard is usually a sign of physical and moral weakness.' 'Take two drawings of the head of a lion, one with and the other without the mane. You will see how much of the majesty of the king of the woods, as well as that of the lord of the earth, dwells in this free-flowing appendage.' 'There is scarcely a more naturally disgusting object than a beardless old man.

The Beard keeps gradually covering, varying and beautifying, and imparts new graces even to decay, by heightening all that is still pleasing, veiling all that is repulsive.' This eccentric Victorian book argues a strong case for the universal wearing of a beard - that essential symbol of manly distinction since ancient times.

Thomas S. Gowing contrasts the vigour and daring of bearded men through history with the undeniable effeminacy of the clean-shaven.

He reminds the modern man that 'ladies, by their very nature, like everything manly', and cannot fail to be charmed by a 'fine flow of curling comeliness'.

Gowing's book is now republished for the first time since 1850, accompanied by illustrations of impressive beards from history.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 80 pages, 8 black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: The British Library Publishing Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Humour
  • ISBN: 9780712357661



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An intriguing Victorian curiosity, this is a lecture justifying and surveying of the history and cultural significance of beards, accompanied by pictures of various impressive specimens.