Download Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell by Constan Classen PDF

By Constan Classen

Roses, musk, incense and myrrh--smells have regularly been linked to magic, therapeutic and sexual energy. 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 background of smells: from the perfumed banquets of historical Greece to "the most sensible blueberry taste ever made", from the candy "odor of sanctity" to the most recent in clothier fragrances. A trip of discovery that occurs within the body spray 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 historical past. alongside the best way, the authors open our senses to the strong cultural meaings of smells. Odors, they exhibit, tell strength relatives among the sexes, among sessions 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 smell of cultures current and earlier and to find a universe criss-crossed by means of the odor trails of the folks, animals and vegetation that inhabit it. them, unite humans or divide them, empower or disempower.

The e-book breaks the "olfactory silence" of modernity by way of supplying the 1st complete exploration of the cultural position of odors in Western history--from antiquity to the present--and in a large choice of non-Western societies. Its issues variety from the medieval thought of the "odor of sanctity" to the aromatherapies of South the United States, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity within the sleek West to the function of odor in postmodernity.

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Extra resources for Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell

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Worn around the forehead as a crown, a garland was supposed to alleviate the effects of drinking, and worn on the breast it was said to enliven the heart. In an olfactory example of gilding the lily, perfumes might be added to the wreaths to make them more odorous. Scented water would be offered to the guests in between courses for washing their sticky hands, as most foods were eaten with the fingers. The diners would be further scented with perfumed unguents brought to them in alabaster boxes by slaves.

162 Lucretius, for example, writes that at death ‘the breath of life is driven without…scattering abroad like smoke’. 164 Lucretius also attributes the foul stench of the corpse to the loss of the vital breath, thereby setting up a dualism between the foulness of death and the fragrance of life. This association of breath with life and with the soul indicates that the importance placed by the ancients on having a fragrant breath was not simply a matter of aesthetics. To have a fragrant breath in antiquity was to exhale the sweetness of life and to attest to the purity of one’s soul.

Ambrosia and nectar, in particular, are described in ancient literature as life-giving essences. 185 Although the breath of life is gone, therefore, human bodies could be kept from corruption and even revived by divine fragrance. An interesting variation on this theme is given by Ovid in Metamorphoses. He tells the story of how a king’s daughter is seduced by the Sun and then killed and buried by her angry father. When the Sun finds the dead girl, he tries unsuccessfully to revive her with his warm rays.

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