15 of the Greatest Literary Mustaches

Happy birthday to Gothic lit god Edgar Allan Poe, whose chilling tales have influenced innumerable artists of every kind across the globe and have been a comfort for angsty teens everywhere. While the scribe’s life story is a fascinating one filled with madness and love, we’re celebrating the grim gentleman’s legacy by calling attention to one of his greatest attributes: his debonair mustache. Poe’s appearance has been well documented, citing that he traded long sideburns for his now-famous facial hair, which he first grew around 1845. An article in the 1878 copy of Scribner’s Magazine, “The Last Days of Edgar A. Poe,” describes the writer’s iconic stache more specifically:

“He wore a dark mustache, scrupulously kept, but not entirely concealing a slightly contracted expression of the mouth and an occasional twitching of the upper lip, resembling a sneer. This sneer, indeed, was easily excited — a motion of the lip, scarcely perceptible, and yet intensely expressive. There was in it nothing of ill-nature, but much of sarcasm … “

What other literary greats have memorable mustaches? Find out past the break, and let us know who you’d add to the list. … Read More

  • 2

Literary Mixtape: Lady Macbeth

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the woman pulling the strings — but dirtying her hands — Lady Macbeth. … Read More

  • 5

Authors Ranked by Beard Weight

The indispensable text for beard owners and lovers alike, Poets Ranked by Beard Weight, was published earlier this month, elucidating the various weights of poet beard (and thus, of course, poet) through an arcane system of magic and analysis. Though in our many studies we’ve found that on the whole, poets’ beards are heavier than their novelist equivalents, we felt that limiting the field to masters of verse was tantamount to cruelty, and so have applied Underwood’s theories to a handful of prose writers and a playwright or two, so that they might feel included. Click through to see our list of authors ranked by beard weight, all using UPI. That is: “Underwood’s Pogonometric Index, plotted by means of numerical values designating “poetic gravity” and relative “beard weights,” yields readings ranging from zero to a positive value of sixty. The normal range for the average individual is ten to twenty-four. For exceptional individuals, it can run to a value of forty and above.” Yes, it’s a very precise system. … Read More

  • 4

Amazing Literature-Inspired Jack-O’-Lanterns

With All Hallows’ Eve around the bend, a select series of crafters and artisans have decided to pay homage to our favorite novels, authors, poems, and fairy tales through the art of pumpkin carving. But the specimens below aren’t your regular, run-of-the-mill, home-carved jack-o’-lanterns. Replacing canvas with pumpkin and paint brushes with lino cutters, each piece presents a glowing portrait of an influential writer or a scene ripped from the pages of their works.Check out our gallery of mesmerizing jack-o’-lanterns that honor literary greats like Edgar Alan Poe, William Shakespeare, and the Brothers Grimm after the jump. … Read More

  • 8

What Pop Culture Can Teach Us About Dealing With Disasters

If you live on the East Coast, you may be in for some weather-related drama this weekend. Hurricane Irene is scheduled to whip through New York late tonight, so your faithful Flavorwire staffers are huddled up with our canned goods and bottled water, and of course, several piles of movies and books to keep us occupied. Since we specialize in culture and not weather-preparedness, we can’t give you any hurricane-proofing tips, but we can share a few lessons we’ve learned from the many natural disasters that have been immortalized in film, literature and mythology. Click through to see what the calamities of fiction can teach us, and get ready for the storm. … Read More

  • 0

Thus With a Kiss: 10 Spectacular Suicides in Literature

“Ah! it is but a little thing, death!” Not so little, Emma, but something that great writers of every generation have discussed and described at length, parsing and probing at the idea of death in all its many forms. For us, of all deaths in literature, suicides are often the most affecting, whether there is precise internal monologue or abject mystery surrounding the character’s intentions. Of course, we definitely do not endorse suicide in the real world, but in fiction, suicides can be beautiful, strange, and unbearably affecting, which are all things we love in literature. Many of the best works of literature include this kind of particular death, and so we scoured our shelves for the most notable suicides, choosing them based on the beauty of the prose, the strangeness of the circumstances, or the singular mindset of the character. Click through to see our list of ten spectacular suicides in literature, and let us know which of your favorites we’ve missed in the comments! … Read More

  • 28

Burning Books: The Hottest Scenes in Literature

No, not like that. We’re talking about actual, blazing, burning heat, which shouldn’t be that surprising, because if you’ve been on the East coast for the past few days, you probably haven’t been able to talk — or think — about much else. This past Friday, the heat in New York City was measured at the highest its been since 1977 (and only two degrees lower than the all-time record), hitting 104 degrees at the hottest part of the day. This weekend hasn’t been much better, and Americans all over the country are suffering from absurd temperatures and growing addictions to air conditioning. So to celebrate the hottest part of the summer, or maybe just to find a little commiseration in prose, we’ve collected some of the hottest scenes in literature, from Dante exploring the fiery pits of hell to Gatsby and Tom sweating bullets in their white linen shirts. Click through to see our list, and let us know which of your favorite sweaty scenes we’ve missed in the comments! … Read More

  • 24

Gallery: 'Tiny Confessions' from Shakespeare, Frankenstein and Pets

Your dog doesn’t enjoy being compared to an Ewok. Your pug would like to have you on a leash. And your cat? Sorry, buddy, but she isn’t a nervous wreck like you. These are only a few of the revelations in Christopher Rozzi’s Tiny Confessions, a delightful series that expose the little secret your pets — along with Shakespeare, Frankenstein, fortune cookies, etc. — are keeping from you. Click through after the jump for a selection of our favorites, and visit Rozzi’s Etsy shop to see more images and pick up an affordable print or 20. Seriously, snap yours up before we buy him out. … Read More

  • 1

Appreciate Shakespeare Through '90s Teen Movies

Alas, poor Shakespeare. On this day back in 1613, he lost the original Globe Theatre to a fire during a performance of a play called All Is True about King Henry VIII. And yet he has given us so much — from the word “puking” to a packed series of open-air plays in Central Park every year. But perhaps the Bard’s greatest boon to 8th graders everywhere was the boom of teen movie adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in the late ’90s and early ’00s. We’re not saying that they’re better than the written word, but, well, some of them are pretty great. Others, not even ’90s nostalgia can redeem. From 10 Things I Hate About You‘s version of The Taming of the Shrew to the Disney Channel’s version of Twelfth Night as a motocross tournament, you too can learn to love Shakespeare like a disgruntled middle schooler, after the jump. … Read More

  • 1

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: The Dirty Side of the Bard

A couple of weeks back we reported that reading Shakespeare makes you smarter. But to counterbalance that thesis, we thought we’d also better point out that while brushing up on the Bard might make you brighter, it won’t make you any less dirty – and, in fact, could well do quite the opposite. Shakespeare had a way with a double-entendre, y’see, often sneaking risqué jokes into his plays that would have had the peanut gallery howling in laughter back when the Globe was rocking in the early 1600s. Here are a few of our favorite bits of Bardic bawdiness. … Read More

  • 8

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,010 other followers