Scents & sensibility : perfume in Victorian literary culture
- Catherine Maxwell.
- First edition.
- Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Copyright notice
- Physical description
- xviii, 361 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
- Maxwell, Catherine, 1962- author.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 323-347) and index.
- Note on the Texts Introduction
- 1: Top Notes: Victorian Perfume Contexts
- 2: Perfumed Melodies, Violet Memories: Scent and Remembrance in the Nineteenth Century
- 3: Les Fleurs du Male
- 4: Scent, the Body, and the Cosmopolitan Flaireur
- 5: Carnal Flowers, Charnel Flowers: Tuberose in Late Victorian Poetry
- 6: Michael Field's Fragrant Imagination
- 7: Dandies and Decadents
- 8: Victorian Drydown and Sillage Appendix.
- (source: Nielsen Book Data)
- Publisher's summary
This lively, accessible book is the first to explore Victorian literature through scent and perfume, presenting an extensive range of well-known and unfamiliar texts in intriguing and imaginative new ways that make us re-think literature's relation with the senses. Concentrating on aesthetic and decadent authors, Scents and Sensibility introduces a rich selection of poems, essays, and fiction, exploring these texts with reference to both the little-known cultural history of perfume use and the appreciation of natural fragrance in Victorian Britain. It shows how scent and perfume are used to convey not merely moods and atmospheres but the nuances of the aesthete or decadent's carefully cultivated identity, personality, or sensibility. A key theme is the emergence of the olfactif, the cultivated individual with a refined sense of smell, influentially represented by the poet and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne, who is emulated by a host of canonical and less well-known aesthetic and decadent successors such as Walter Pater, Edmund Gosse, John Addington Symonds, Lafcadio Hearn, Michael Field, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Symons, Mark Andre Raffalovich, Theodore Wratislaw, and A. Mary F. Robinson. This book explores how scent and perfume pervade the work of these authors in many different ways, signifying such diverse things as style, atmosphere, influence, sexuality, sensibility, spirituality, refinement, individuality, the expression of love and poetic creativity, and the aura of personality, dandyism, modernity, and memory. A coda explores the contrasting twentieth-century responses of Virginia Woolf and Compton Mackenzie to the scent of Victorian literature.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
- Publication date
- Copyright date
- Title variation
- Scents and sensibility
- Winner of Winner of the 2018 European Society for the Study of English Book Prize for Literature in the English Language. 9780198701750 20210802 (source: Nielsen Book Data)
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