The sensational past

how the Enlightenment changed the way we use our senses

Authors / Contributors:
Carolyn Purnell
Place, publisher, year:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2017
Physical Description:
302 Seiten : Illustrationen ; 22 cm
First edition
ID: 577994468
  • The self-made man: creating genius in the Enlightenment -- Drinking your way to a new you: self-medication, sensibility, and sociability at the cafø -- Living in a world of sound: the pitch-black markets of Paris -- Becoming useful citizens: the talents of blind (and blindfolded) children -- Blowing smoke up the ass: aromatic medicine and useful science -- What is a sense?: sex, self-preservation, pleasure, and pain -- Harmonious nature: the cat piano, the ocular harpsichord, and scales of scent and taste -- Calling it macaroni: the politics of popular pigments -- The gourmand's gaze: visual eating in the postrevolutionary period -- Digesting nature: exotic animal dining clubs in nineteenth-century England -- Seeing is not believing
  • Blindfolding children from birth? Playing a piano made of live cats? Using tobacco to cure drowning? Wearing "flea"--Colored clothes? These actions may seem odd to us, but in the eighteenth century, they made perfect sense. As often as we use our senses, we rarely stop to think about their place in history. But perception is not dependent on the body alone. Carolyn Purnell persuasively shows that, while our bodies may not change dramatically, the way we think about the senses and put them to use has been rather different over the ages. Journeying through the past three hundred years, Purnell explores how people used their senses in ways that might shock us now. And perhaps more surprisingly, she shows how many of our own ways of life are a legacy of this earlier time. The Sensational Past focuses on the ways in which small, peculiar, and seemingly unimportant facts open up new ways of thinking about the past. You will explore the sensory worlds of the Enlightenment, learning how people in the past used their senses, understood their bodies, and experienced the rapidly shifting world around them. In this smart and witty work, Purnell reminds us of the value of daily life and the power of the smallest aspects of existence using culinary history, fashion, medicine, music, and many other aspects of Enlightenment life