The Victorian beard has returned after a century and a quarter. It started to die out c 1890 as a cleaner-cut military look came in.
In the nineteenth century, it was often adopted with a certain maturity. Now it’s worn by young men. Last autumn I reckoned that a quarter of young Greeks, who seemed neither especially fashion-conscious nor religious, had real beards. Was that simply traditionally Greek? Is this an unconscious echo among non-Muslims of the Muslim beard?
The Elizabethans and their Stuart successors had worn goatees. The Hanoverians were clean-shaven. Beards don’t go with wigs.
The modern Victorian beard, when it is Parnell-like, is subtly transgressive.
Mahler in beard phase; first photo looks earlier than second, which was taken in Kassel, where he worked for two years from summer 1883, aged 23-5, when he might have been expected to be clean-shaven: