With regard to hair in the fashionable performance of everyday life during much of the eighteenth century, size mattered. Looking particularly at the Augustan theatrical periwig and the rage for "making a head" in the 1760s and 70s, as documented by Horace Walpole and his contemporaries in words and images, we examine the dialectic of conformity and novelty that produced some of the most extravagant uses of human hair and its falsifying substitutes in history, quoted but not surpassed by the bouffant craze of the 1950s and 60s. What anthropologists call "social hair," as the part of the body that can be most readily and flexibly shaped, vividly signifies performance in publicly defined roles, at no time more informatively than when it is at its biggest.


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pp. 79-99
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