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London German Studies XVII: Smell and Social Life. Aspects of English, French and German Literature (1880-1939)

Edited by Katharina Herold and Frank Krause
Institute of Germanic Studies Publications London German Studies


Literary references to smell in social contexts have a long tradition. However, the significant contribution of odour imagery to our moods and emotions goes largely unnoticed, which accounts for the comparatively late attention paid to smell in research into the significance of sensory images in literature. The well-known capacity of smell motifs to affirm and disrupt social and aesthetic norms cuts across historical periods, but the ways in which specific literary-historical periods renew motifs of smell in social life have remained underexplored. This volume, based on the interdisciplinary conference that took place in November 2018 at the University of London's Institute of Modern Languages Research, gives an overview of such innovations in English, French and German literature during the timespan between the 'olfactory explosion' in 1880 and the break-up of modern movements in 1939. 

London German Studies, XVII/Germanic Studies series, 103
ISBN 978-0-85457-280-9; 278 pp.; 18 November 2021
Published in conjunction with Iudicium Verlag, Munich

Table of contents

Katharina Herold and Frank Krause: Introduction
Barry Smith: The Hidden Sense of Smell: Recent Scientific Findings
Michel Delville: The Smell of Disgust: Modernism and the Social Politics of Olfaction
Smell and Ethical Values: Modern Variations of Traditional Diagnoses
Maria Weilandt: Stereotyped Scents and 'Elegant Reality' in Edmond de Goncourt's Chérie (1884)
Frank Krause: 'Follow the scent: one will seldom err': The Stench of Failed Nietzschean Practice in André Gide's The Immoralist (1902) and Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1912)
Susanne Schmid: Lemon Trees, Vile Odours and No Smells at All: Olfaction in Elizabeth Bowen's, George Orwell's and Arnold Bennett's Hotels
The Readability of Smells: Crises, Subversions and Complications
Sophie-Valentine Borloz: 'We are beginning to suffer indigestion from the flowers of innocence': The Subversion of Floral Fragrance in French Literature of the End of the Nineteenth Century
Katharina Herold: 'European noses [...] have never smelt anything like it': Satirical Scents in Paul Scheerbart's Decadent Orient
Sergej Rickenbacher: Literary Halitosis: Bad Breath and Odol in German Literature around 1900
Jon Day: James Joyce and the Legibility of Odour (or, Towards a Scratch 'n' Sniff Ulysses)
The Authority of Smells: Reassessments
Catherine Maxwell: 'Bringing the perfume out of everything': Vernon Lee, Scent, and Memory
Érika Wicky: A Good Eye, Taste and Flair: The Sensory Skills of the Fin-de-Siècle Collector
Andreas Kramer: 'Dada smells like nothing': Sniffing out the Dada Corpus
Tag Gronberg: Scents of the Mother
Notes on Contributors