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Aroma: The Cultural History of Smellby Constan Classen
Synopses & Reviews
With Aroma Constance Classen, David Howes and Anthony Synnott invite us to follow the scent of cultures present and past and to discover a universe criss-crossed by the scent trails of the people, animals and plants that inhabit it. them, unite people or divide them, empower or disempower.
The book breaks the olfactory silence of modernity by offering the first comprehensive exploration of the cultural role of odors in Western history--from antiquity to the present--and in a wide variety of non-Western societies. Its topics range from the medieval concept of the odor of sanctity to the aromatherapies of South America, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity in the modern West to the role of smell in postmodernity.
Aroma breaks the 'olfactory silence' of modernity by offering the first comprehensive exploration of the cultural role of odours in Western history - from antiquity to the present - and in a wide variety of non-Western societies. Its topics range from the medieval concept of the 'odour of sanctity' to the aroma-therapies of South America, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity in the modern West to the role of smell in postmodernity.
Aroma will make essential reading for students of cultural studies, history, anthropology and sociology.
Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have always been associated with magic, healing and sexual power. Yet what is experienced as fragrant varies dramatically from one culture to the other and from one epoch to the next.
Aroma uncovers the secret history of smells: from the perfumed banquets of ancient Greece to "the best blueberry flavor ever made", from the sweet "odor of sanctity" to the latest in designer fragrances. A journey of discovery that takes place in the perfume potions of the Pacific as well as Andean aromatherapies, Aroma maps the "smellscapes" of different cultures and explores the roles that odors have played throughout history. Along the way, the
Table of Contents
Introduction: The meaning and power of smell — The aromas of antiquity — Following the scent: from the Middle Ages to modernity — Universes of odour — The rites of smell — Odour and power: the politics of smell — The aroma of the commodity: the commercialization of smell.
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