Phrenology

Phrenology, as everyone knows, is a way of reading someone’s character, aptitude, and abilities by examining the bumps and hollows on their head. Therefore–according to the kind of logical thinking that characterises the Ankh-Morpork mind–it should be possible to mould someone’s character by giving them carefully graded bumps in all the right places. You can go into a shop and order an artistic temperament with a tendency to introspection and a side order of hysteria. What you actually get is hit on the head with a selection of different size mallets, but it creates employment and keeps the money in circulation, and that’s the main thing.
—  Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms

anonymous asked:

I don't really know that much about Victor Hugo but I seen you mention his Opinions about foreheads a few times, would you mind explaining them to me?

Sure, this one’s pretty simple! As Victor Hugo things go XD 

In Western Europe/the US in the early 19C, High Foreheads were considered a mark of an intelligent, superior, moral etc nature. The whole proto-phrenology/phrenology thing, you know? You keep your brains there, OBVIOUSLY High Forehead= More Awesome Brain Power! 

(this is of course not at all how it works but like they were taking mercury internally as a recommended medicine, so. Terrible Theories were abundant.) 

So that was in the popular culture already. Then ENTER VICTOR HUGO, who had..a Forehead. Like, it’s in all the caricatures of him. It got mentioned when people talked about him. As @fuckinwordsmithery  has said, Hugo had a Fivehead.  And he was SUPER PROUD of it. 

(And he was also SUPER FAMOUS. So for a while in the 1830s and 1840s, Aspiring Artistic Trendy types would do what they could to increase their own foreheads, including shaving and plucking back their own hairlines. The Hugo Look!)

So pretty much all of Hugo’s Very Attractive characters, especially men, have SUPER FOREHEADS. Marius? a lofty and intelligent brow. Enjolras? Much Forehead, Very Wow (like Much Horizon in a Landscape). Etc.

Just like Victor Hugo himself! What a wild coincidence! 

(and conversely characters with LOW foreheads are the visual equivalent of getting an Ominous Background Theme Tune.) 

Anyway, with the High Forehead thing, Hugo was using a reference he could rely on his contemporary audience to recognize–High Forehead=Superior Nature– and also reinforcing his own Super Hotness. So he does it a whole lot. XD 

(Phrenology was Very Much a Thing, and had all the complicated social implications of most science of the day.A very few Links About Phrenology That Aren’t Just Wiki:
-used in discussions about slavery
-in American social philosophy
-a very basic explanation)

Sybil Hurlburt Luddington, Sarah Hurlburt Bushnell, and Susan Hurlburt Grennell were triplets who lived well in their eighties. Even in old age, they were in good health and remained occupied with “some profitable and healthful employment.” Their resemblance to one another was thought to be rather striking, according to the profile of the sisters accompanying their portrait in the American Phrenological Journal (September, 1858), and the anonymous author of the article refers to the sisters collectively in their physical description. The Hurlburt triplets were considered extraordinary in part because all three showed “great vitality.” The author was also “happy to report that they all bid fair for many more years of usefulness.” Usefulness, likely taken here to mean productive capacities, is identified as the measure of age. The Hurlburt triplets exceptionality depended on the belief that women of their age were not typically productive.

Hurlburt triplets. Sybil Hurlburt Luddington. Sarah Hurlburt Bushnell. Susan Hurlburt Grinnell [i.e., Grennell]. Triplets, now seventy years of age. [New York? : s.n.] [1858?]

What’s on your mind?

Most popular in the early 1800s, phrenology was the “science” of judging a person’s character and abilities based on the shape and size of various parts of the skull and facial features. This is an 1835 American edition of George Combe’s A System of Phrenology, a collection of essays first published in 1819 as Essays on Phrenology.

This diagram shows which parts of the head were examined for particular traits. How secretive are you? Feel above your left ear and find out!

Hannibal is pretty much my very favorite show, and in reaction to the cancellation news I wanted to join other fannibals in showing the amount of love we have for the amazing, lush television experience that Bryan Fuller has gifted us with. So here’s a slightly terrifying Hannibal phrenology bust! ENJOY, FELLOW FANNIBALS!!

(get a print here)