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New Medieval Books: Beards and Baldness in the Middle Ages

Beards and Baldness in the Middle Ages: Three Texts

By Joseph McAlhany

ISBN: 979-8-9896993-0-8

Translations of three medieval texts: In Praise of Baldness, On Bald Men, and A Defense of Beards. It reveals that male grooming was indeed a thing in the Middle Ages.


Each of the three texts presented here, from different places and times during the Middle Ages, reflect the inconsistencies, complexities, and anxieties surrounding the social and cultural meanings assigned to beards and baldness. Ranging from a fifth-century Greek-speaking intellectual in Egypt to a twelfth-century Cistercian abbot in Latin Europe, the authors presented here speak of beards and baldness in quite different ways, as idiosyncratic as they may be, enrich our understanding of beards and baldness in the Middle Ages, and each in its own right is a valuable contribution to the literature and intellectual history of the worlds from which they emerged.


Who is this book for?

While the subject matter of this book might be very narrow, these translations offer a slice of daily life. If you are teaching a course on the Middle Ages, one should consider using them, especially Burchard of Bellevaux’s A Defense of Beards, which is a very good read.

The author

Joseph McAlhany is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Connecticut, where he researches medieval and ancient history. Click here to see his page.


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