The "facespanner" from the Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century blogI’ve spent the last week mulling over how mark-up languages’ form and function encode knowledge into a text – but have been sidetracked by an amusing site devoted to nineteenth-century mustaches. Drawn from the University of Kentucky archives, these are almost exclusively American mustaches. I’ve been trying to divine each sitter’s nationality by reading his whiskers (John Wilkes Booth from the May 25th post features a distinctly Clemensesque soup strainer). Which makes me wonder, in keeping with my reading on mark-up languages, do Victorian mustaches have a function, symbolic or otherwise, or are they pure form?

I’m feeling relieved – I’ve reached my whimsy quota for the week, and it’s only Wednesday.

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2 thoughts on “Form, Function, and Facial Fur

  1. I can’t stop laughing at the whole concept of the mustache “faceshelf.” I think Dr. John T. Gerin wins the mustache contest on that page, although Mr. Trepanned Forehead certainly earns an honourable mention.

    I have a secret theory that someone anxiously chews on a mustache in every novel written by Gissing. It’ll take me a while to confirm that one, though, so in the meantime I’ll just have to step up and write the post about Victorian beards that I’ve been thinking about for ages…

    I’ll leave you with this: the mustache cup!!

    http://www.silvercollection.it/dictionarymustachecup.html

  2. I can’t wait for your beard post – there is a superabundance of gentlemen whose mass of facial hair make them look like so many peepers peering through a hedge.

    Hm. I think trepanning should be cross-posted to your last blog entry.

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