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A Cultural History of the Senses
     

A Cultural History of the Senses

by Jerry P. Toner (Editor), Constance Classen (Editor), Anne C. Vila (Editor), Richard G. Newhauser (Editor), David Howes (Editor)
 

What did the past sound like, taste like, smell like? How did it look and feel? How did people make sense of the world through their senses? These are questions which are increasingly capturing the interest of historians. A Cultural History of the Senses delves into the sensory foundations of Western civilization, taking a comprehensive period-by-period

Overview

What did the past sound like, taste like, smell like? How did it look and feel? How did people make sense of the world through their senses? These are questions which are increasingly capturing the interest of historians. A Cultural History of the Senses delves into the sensory foundations of Western civilization, taking a comprehensive period-by-period approach, which provides a broad understanding of the life of the senses from antiquity to the modern day. The volumes treat such topics as the sensory markers of gender and class, the aesthetic dimensions of material culture, religious sensibilities, the medical uses of the senses and their representation in art and literature. These investigations bring out the sensations and values which defined experience in a particular era and shaped the world view of the time. With contributions from such prominent scholars as Peter Burke, Alain Corbin, Anthony Wallace-Hadrill and Chris Woolgar, A Cultural History of the Senses sets the stage for a vital new way of understanding the past.
A Cultural History of the Senses presents an authoritative survey from ancient times to the present. This set of six volumes explores the cultural life of the senses in the West over a span of 2500 years:
1. A Cultural History of the Senses in Antiquity, 500 BCE-500 CE
2. A Cultural History of the Senses in the Middle Ages, 500-1450
3. A Cultural History of the Senses in the Renaissance, 1450-1650
4. A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Enlightenment, 1650-1800
5. A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Empire, 1800-1920
6. A Cultural History of the Senses in the Modern Age, 1920-2000
Each volume discusses the same themes in its chapters: The Social Life of the Senses; Urban Sensations; The Senses in the Marketplace; The Senses in Religion; The Senses in Philosophy and Science; Medicine and the Senses; The Senses in Literature; Art and the Senses; and Sensory Media. This structure means that readers can either have a broad overview of a period or follow a theme through history by reading the relevant chapter in each volume.
Superbly illustrated, the full six volume set combines to present the most authoritative and comprehensive survey available on the senses in history.

Editorial Reviews

TLS - Geoffrey Hawthorn

But what exactly is the enterprise? Most obviously, it is to take historical inquiry into a new area. More ambitiously, it is to extend and perhaps even alter our understanding of areas we already think we know. Most excitingly, we can hope that it might extend our understanding of the relations more generally between biology, circumstance, sensation and expression.
From the Publisher
“But what exactly is the enterprise? Most obviously, it is to take historical inquiry into a new area. More ambitiously, it is to extend and perhaps even alter our understanding of areas we already think we know. Most excitingly, we can hope that it might extend our understanding of the relations more generally between biology, circumstance, sensation and expression.” —Geoffrey Hawthorn, TLS

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780857853387
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
12/04/2014
Series:
Cultural Histories Series
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 4.16(d)

Meet the Author


Constance Classen is an award-winning author and researcher, based in Montreal, Canada. She is the editor of The Book of Touch (Berg, 2005) and the author of, among other works, Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures (1993) and The Color of Angels: Cosmology, Gender and the Aesthetic Imagination (1998), as well as The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch (2012).

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