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Here Are 8 Of The Greatest Literary Mustaches

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

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

Here Are 8 Of The Greatest Literary Mustaches

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


(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


(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


(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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