8 Great Literary Beards

Authors and characters who sported fetching facial hair

For some, they’re majestic symbols of manhood; for others, they mean that the wearer has something to hide. Beards in literature can evoke all kinds of emotions or associations in the reader’s mind.

When it comes to beards for characters, they can be used as shorthand for loveable old friends, like Albus Dumbledore or Hagrid in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, or for twisted villains, like Mr Twit in Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale.

It’s not just characters who sport whiskers either – some authors, such as Iain Banks and Craig Russell, have cultivated fine facial hair too. Some bearded writers even endow their creations with chin-warmers, such as the Van Dyke-style beard sported by Admiral James Sandecker in the Dirk Pitt novels by Clive Cussler, who wears a slightly bushier version himself.

The Last Dickens cover

5. The Last Dickens

Matthew Pearl
Macbeth cover

6. Macbeth: A Novel

David Hewson and A. J. Hartley
The Twits cover

7. The Twits

Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illus)

List created by

Peter Ranscombe by Alex Hewitt
Peter Ranscombe

While he was a journalist at The Scotsman newspaper, Peter Ranscombe delved into its archives to read reports about notorious murderers Burke and Hare as inspiration for his debut novel, an historical thriller called Hare , which was published in paperback in August 2015 by Knox Robinson Publishing. Besides writing fiction, Peter now works as a freelance journalist, which includes editing BQ Scotland and writing the wine column in Scottish Field. Follow him on Twitter @peterranscombe2 and find him at www.peter-ranscombe.com.   In the lead up to Book Week Scotland 2016, Peter will be growing a beard to raise money for Scottish Book Trust. Learn more and help support his efforts at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Peter-Ranscombe.

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