By Juliet McMaster (auth.)
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Extra resources for Dickens the Designer
Such an argument won't hold in Dickens's works, however, where people are as responsible for their appearance as for anything else belonging to them . Charity Pecksniff's nose is usually red at breakfast-time, and the colour of her nose goes with her mood : 'it wore , at that season of the day , a scraped and frosty look, as ifit had been rasped ; while a similar phenomenon developed itselfin he r humour, which was then observed to be of a sharp and acid quality' (85). Though we don 't usually consider noses as the most mobile or expressive feature of the face, to Dickens the human nose is apparently as articulate a limb as the lithe proboscis of the elephant.
In England in the eighteenth century physiognomy, or the branch of it devoted to divination of the future from facial structure, even had the distinction of being outlawed on pain of whipping. But at the end of the century there was a strong renewal of interest, and an increase in its respectability as a rational and moral pursuit, largely because of the Swiss physiognomist ]ohan Kaspar Lavater. His major work, translated into English in five lavishly illustrated volumes in the last decade of the century, was Essays on Physiognoml' Designed to Promote the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind.
Eugene Wrayburn, the potential seducer, appears in Stone's illustrations with whiskers and moustache (opp. 288), and, according to Fledgeby, has 'Got a beard besides, and presumes upon it' (431). Lammle, whose bushy whiskers are very prominent, is a brutal fortune-hunter, and would domineer his wife if he could; that he doesn 't quite succeed, but has to arrive at a hostile truce with her, is perhaps because he only has ginger whiskers, while she has 'raven locks' (10). Facial hair is an important element in the Lammle subplot, for it provides the motivation for 'Fascination' Fledgeby, as he is jocularly called.