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Cover of A Cultural History of the Senses
Published: 
December 2014
Publisher: 
Bloomsbury Academic
ISBN: 
978-0857853387

College or Unit:

A Cultural History of the Senses

The Cultural Histories Series
Edited by: 
Jerry P. Toner
Constance Classen
Anne C. Vila
Richard G. Newhauser
David Howes
Herman Roodenburg

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

Bio

Richard Newhauser is a professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University.

Praise for this book

“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