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Past ScentsHistorical Perspectives on Smell$
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Jonathan Reinarz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252034947

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252034947.001.0001

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Beyond the Foul and Fragrant

(p.209) Conclusion
Past Scents

Jonathan Reinarz

University of Illinois Press

This concluding chapter looks back to Alain Corbin's seminal work, The Foul and the Fragrant, in discussing the strides made in smell studies since its publication. At the same time it returns to the themes already laid out in the previous chapters. When it first appeared some three decades ago, Corbin's study filled an important gap in our understanding of past senses. Not surprisingly, other studies followed. Most of these similarly employ a binary model when considering smells, particularly when addressing the urban industrial environment. Because of this, much research into the history of smell comprises studies of extremes, documenting primarily pleasant scents and pungent odors. The chapter calls for further scholarship on the sense of smell, noting current gaps in the field, as despite its progress in recent years olfaction still continues to be overshadowed by other senses.

Keywords:   The Foul and the Fragrant, smell studies, past senses, binary models, urban industrial environment, scents, olfaction

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