New PDF release: Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell

By Constan Classen

Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have constantly been linked to magic, therapeutic and sexual strength. but what's skilled as aromatic varies dramatically from one tradition to the opposite and from one epoch to the next.

</b><b>Aroma uncovers the key heritage of smells: from the perfumed banquets of historic Greece to "the top blueberry taste ever made", from the candy "odor of sanctity" to the most recent in fashion designer fragrances. A trip of discovery that occurs within the fragrance potions of the Pacific in addition to Andean aromatherapies, </b><b>Aroma maps the "smellscapes" of other cultures and explores the jobs that odors have performed all through heritage. alongside the best way, the authors open our senses to the robust cultural meaings of smells. Odors, they exhibit, tell energy family members among the sexes, among periods and ethnic groups--the sultry femme fatale, the "sweaty operating class", the physique scent of "the foreigner" are cultural stereotypes made strikingly real.

With </b><b>Aroma Constance Classen, David Howes and Anthony Synnott invite us to keep on with the odor of cultures current and earlier and to find a universe criss-crossed by way of the smell trails of the folks, animals and vegetation that inhabit it. them, unite humans or divide them, empower or disempower.

The publication breaks the "olfactory silence" of modernity by means of providing the 1st accomplished exploration of the cultural position of odors in Western history--from antiquity to the present--and in a wide selection of non-Western societies. Its subject matters variety from the medieval inspiration of the "odor of sanctity" to the aromatherapies of South the United States, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity within the smooth West to the function of scent in postmodernity.

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Extra resources for Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell

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A fuller’s jar of stale urine or a rotten egg, for example, are pungent enough images in themselves. Martial, however, enhances them by having the jar smashed in the middle of a street where it would spread its odour far and wide, the egg stinking not only of itself but of a dead chick within. 79 Personal odour, thus, was of great concern to the ancients. Aristotle, indeed, devotes a section of his Problemata to the subject of foul body odour. ’80 The aromas of antiquity 31 A particular focus of this concern with body odour was breath, for just as a fragrant kiss was a romantic ideal, so was foul breath a subject of disgust and ridicule.

Sacred statuary would also be anointed with perfume. This practice may strike us moderns, unaccustomed to perfume our images, as odd. Also contrary to modern habits was the ancient tendency to offer to the gods the same perfumes as were employed for personal use. In antiquity, however, a distinction was often not drawn between The aromas of antiquity 47 sacred and secular scents, and what humans enjoyed was presumed to be appreciated by the deities. The addition of an olfactory dimension to sacred images and shrines was appropriate not only as an offering, but as a symbol of divine presence, for fragrance was the characteristic sign of the presence of a deity in antiquity.

98 The most obvious class division of this sort was that between rich and the poor. The rich, of course, could afford all the olfactory niceties which the poor could not: perfumes and incense, scented lamp oil, gardens, well-ventilated homes kept clean and sweet by slaves. By contrast we have Martial’s olfactory portrait of a poor family’s home: urine leaking from a cracked chamberpot, a jar stinking of fish, another full of foul resin, all intermingled with the pungent odours of garlic and onions.

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Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constan Classen


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