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Here Are 8 Of The Greatest Literary Mustaches

As I was doing a little research on Red Harvest and its author Dashiell Hammett, I couldn’t help but be struck by the wonder that is Hammett’s mustache.

You’ll see it here in the featured image to the left. Let’s examine.

What I love about this is the sharp contrast between Hammett’s mustache, eyebrows, and his hair. Not only does Hammett boldly adorn a power mustache, but he also is quite confident in the two-toned nature of his body hair. It’s as if Hammett’s face alone, the alternating colors of light and dark, can tell you about the deep secrets of human nature.

That got me to thinking about other wonderful literary mustaches, so I thought we could highlight a few here today. Dashiell Hammett is a definite winner, but let’s look at some others.

Mark Twain.

 

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

 

Twain’s power ‘stache incorporates the flowing, full-bodied hair. It’s an all-around winning look. What I love about Twain is that he manages a to walk the fine line between looking classy and looking crazy. He doesn’t quite have the wacky Einstein look, but he also looks just daring enough to tell you an inappropriate joke at dinner. And you know he would.

George Orwell

Image: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve never been able to get over Orwell’s terrible pencil mustache since I read 1984 and Animal Farm. This is just bad. Mustaches have sadly made a bit of a comeback, but let’s hope Orwell’s look isn’t part of that. It looks a little like something you might see on a sexual predator watch list.

William Faulkner

 

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

This is pure Southern class. When you think of a true Southerner, don’t think of an Alabama fan in a wifebeater. Think of Bill Faulkner and his tightly groomed mustache and hair. He’s refined. He’s distinguished. He’s William Faulkner.

James Joyce

james-joyce

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

I swear to you that I saw James Joyce right here in Nashville the other day. You might think Nashville is full of cowboys and country stars, and they’re around here. But over the last decade, hipsters have descended on Nashville like a plague of locusts and PBR—and 75% of them look like James Joyce, with that hat and ironic mustache and glasses. Just looking at James Joyce makes me feel like I’m about to hear a lecture about juicing, kale, and naturopathic remedies.

Friedrich Nietzche

(Image: WIkimedia Commons)

(Image: WIkimedia Commons)

 

Look at that. Just look at that thing. Nietzche is famous for saying “God is dead,” but only God could have created something as powerful and enormous as that mustache. Squirrels could get lost in there. The moon could orbit that thing.

Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Vonnegut’s got the classic thick 1980s ‘stache, like he could’ve doubled for Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I.. He also gives me a little bit of a Mark Twain feel—like the cool granddad who will tell you war stories and show you that trick he does with his amputated pinky.

Ernest Hemingway

ErnestHemingway

(Image:Wikimedia Commons)

 

This photo is of a younger Hemingway. Eventually, Hemingway went full-on beard and mustache in his later years. But let’s bask in the beauty of his simple, clean single mustache in this photo. Very clean and crisp, just like his writing.

I don’t know about you, but I want to grow a mustache now. Not really. My wife might leave me.

Who’s got your favorite literary ‘stache, and who am I missing on this list?

 

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alice B. Toklas. Okay, she didn’t actually write the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, but she does have a power stache in the later years.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
    • brilliant. kjcrisp, you win the internet today :). This could only be better if you paired a post about Toklas’ stache with one about writers who have faces that look like blighted potatoes (Gertrude Stein).

      Like

      May 2, 2014
  2. Love this!

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  3. I’m a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Rudyard Kipling (he’s my fave poet), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Gustave Flaubert (LOVE his!), GK Chesterton, Thomas Hardy. And another I have to mention is Salvador Dali’s. Yes, I know he’s a painter, but some of his mustaches are epic!

    Like

    May 2, 2014
    • Doyle did have some good ones. I believe he had the handlebar, right?

      Like

      May 2, 2014
      • Depending on his age, yes. Some were outright handlebars. Others were simply training wheels for the real deal.

        Like

        May 2, 2014
  4. Lost it at Nietzche. Well done.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  5. Winner of the most epic literary stash ever is definitely a toss-up between Mark Twain and Nietzche B-)

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  6. Reblogged this on Boy Reads Books and commented:
    Classic. I’m jealous I didn’t think of this post first.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  7. Ah, but you missed some very prominent mustaches. Poe had a very mysterious mustaches. Proust’s mustache was very stylish. Balzac’s really couldn’t decide if it was a mustache or not. Thomas Hardy’s of course was a return of the native mustache. Flaubert’s would make even Madame Bovary blush.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  8. Now I want to grow a mustache!
    This blog post raises important questions for me. For instance, am I doomed to be a miserable writer, just because I’m incapable of growing facial hair?

    Like

    May 2, 2014
    • I’m pretty much in the same boat. Let’s hope not.

      Like

      May 2, 2014
    • Step 1.) Grow moustache (can’t grow one, get a hair transplant). 2.) Start writing 3.) ???? 4.) Profit

      Like

      May 3, 2014
      • How do you feel about sticker mustaches? They might improve my writing without reducing my femininity.

        Like

        May 4, 2014
  9. My German-born father-in-law, a journalist and author of two books on hydrogen, had a fabulous mustache, more elaborate than Garciá Márquez but not as expansive as Nietzche’s. Family members joked that he could mumble through his mustache in three different languages.

    He just passed away, and when I posted his photo on my blog and FB along with a tribute to his work and life, I received a fair share of comments about his signature mustache.

    Perhaps you should grow a mustache to see if it has any effect on how your approach your reading?

    Like

    May 2, 2014
    • I’m hopeless when it comes to facial hair. I couldn’t even pull off the thinness so Orwell’s stache.

      Like

      May 2, 2014
  10. great post. Hammett doesn’t look anything like you expect a hard boiled detective writer to look like.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  11. I’m married to a great ‘mo’. People tell us all the time they remember my husband for his moustache.

    Like

    May 2, 2014
  12. What a wonderful list, expressed with a twinkle of literary magic. Who did you miss? Marcel Proust has a moustache to contend with.

    Like

    May 3, 2014
  13. highschooledumacation #

    Reblogged this on High School Edumacation.

    Like

    May 3, 2014
  14. How about Rudyard Kipling’s ‘stache? Cool, right?

    Like

    May 19, 2014

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