Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture by Catherine MaxwellScents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture by Catherine Maxwell

Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture

byCatherine Maxwell

Hardcover | November 26, 2017

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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 aestheticand 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 areused 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 asstyle, 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 ComptonMackenzie to the scent of Victorian literature.

About The Author

Catherine Maxwell read English literature for her BA and D.Phil. at St Hugh's College, Oxford where she was subsequently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow from 1990-1993. She then joined the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London, becoming Professor of Victorian Literature in 2009. She is the author of The ...

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Title:Scents and Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary CultureFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:November 26, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198701756

ISBN - 13:9780198701750

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Table of Contents

Note on the TextsIntroduction1. Top Notes: Victorian Perfume Contexts2. Perfumed Melodies, Violet Memories: Scent and Remembrance in the Nineteenth Century3. Les Fleurs du Male4. Scent, the Body, and the Cosmopolitan Flaireur5. Carnal Flowers, Charnel Flowers: Tuberose in Late Victorian Poetry6. Michael Field's Fragrant Imagination7. Dandies and Decadents8. Victorian Drydown and SillageAppendix