‘We’ll Imagine, Madam, You Have a Beard’: Beards and Early Female Playwrights

  • Morwenna Carr
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


The author examines the use of male facial hair in Elizabeth Polwhele’s The Frolicks (1671), Aphra Behn’s The Feigned Courtesans (1679) and Mary’s Pix’s The Beau Defeated (1700), and the ways in which its use opened up the male literary canon to female authors at the end of the seventeenth century. She argues that beards—both real beards worn by characters, and false beards used by them for dramatic effect—in these three female-authored plays contribute to the reshaping of a canon that had been dominated by male playwrights such as Shakespeare, and which had been produced in response to the all-male professional stage of pre-1642.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morwenna Carr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and Creative WritingUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations