One man's passion for perfume leads him to explore one of the most intriguing scientific mysteries: What makes one molecule smell of garlic while another smells of rose? In this witty, engrossing, and wildly original volume, author Luca Turin explores the two competing theories of smell. Is scent determined by molecular shape or molecular vibrations? Turin describes in fascinating detail the science, the evidence, and the often contentious debate—from the beginnings of organic chemistry to the present day—and pays homage to the scientists who went before. With its uniquely accessible and captivating approach to science via art, The Secret of Scent will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about the most mysterious of the five senses.
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 aesthetic and 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 are used 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 André 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 as style, 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 Compton Mackenzie to the scent of Victorian literature.
Author: Stephen Buchmann
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2015-07-21
“Fascinating...Buchmann’s knowledge and enthusiasm jump off the page.” —The Wall Street Journal “An extraordinarily good book.” —Edward O. Wilson The lively and definitive story of the beauty, sexuality, lore, economics, and ecology of the world ’s flowers, written by a devoted scientist and illustrated with his stunning photographs. Flowers—and the fruits they often become—feed, clothe, and inspire us. Indeed, they have done so for all of human history. Yet although we use flowers to celebrate important occasions, to express love, and to please our senses, we know little about them, their functions in nature, or even how we depend on them. In a volume that will delight gardeners, naturalists, cooks, artists, or anyone interested in history or culture, pollination ecologist Stephen Buchmann serves as an expert guide through the fascinating world of flowers. He explains how other species relate to flowers in ways crucial to the natural world. Next he takes us on an engaging exploration of the roles flowers play in the production of food, spices, medicines, and perfumes. Flowering plants, Buchmann then shows, have long served as inspirational themes in art and literature. Flowers have in fact so thoroughly seduced us that we now buy some ten million a day, driving breeders to create infinite varieties and unusual blooms. In this cultural and natural investigation of floral history, Stephen Buchmann’s masterful narrative illuminates just why there is, indeed, a reason for flowers.
Author: Laura Frost
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2013-07-09
Genre: Literary Criticism
Aldous Huxley decried "the horrors of modern 'pleasure,'" or the proliferation of mass produced, widely accessible entertainment that could degrade or dull the mind. He and his contemporaries, including James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, and Jean Rhys, sought to radically redefine pleasure, constructing arduous and indirect paths to delight through their notoriously daunting work. Laura Frost follows these experiments in the art of unpleasure, connecting modernism's signature characteristics, such as irony, allusiveness, and obscurity, to an ambitious attempt to reconfigure bliss. In The Problem with Pleasure, Frost draws upon a wide variety of materials, linking interwar amusements, such as the talkies, romance novels, the Parisian fragrance Chanel no. 5, and the exotic confection Turkish Delight, to the artistic play of Joyce, Lawrence, Stein, Rhys, and others. She considers pop cultural phenomena and the rise of celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino and Gypsy Rose Lee against contemporary sociological, scientific, and philosophical writings on leisure and desire. Throughout her study, Frost incorporates recent scholarship on material and visual culture and vernacular modernism, recasting the period's high/low, elite/popular divides and formal strategies as efforts to regulate sensual and cerebral experience. Capturing the challenging tensions between these artists' commitment to innovation and the stimulating amusements they denounced yet deployed in their writing, Frost calls attention to the central role of pleasure in shaping interwar culture.
Author: Roja Dove
Publisher: Black Dog Publishing
Release Date: 2008-10-28
The Essence of Perfume is the first book by the world's only Professeur de Parfums, and is as captivating as it is informative. Beginning with a comprehensive discussion of the sense of smell and the materials of the master perfumer, The Essence of Perfume goes on to celebrate the great classics (from Guerlain's Shalimar and Vol de Nuit, to Chanel's No 5 and Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps), the makers who brought them to life and the designers who gave them shape. In an age where the methods and motivations of the original perfumers are all but forgotten, Roja Dove unfolds the gripping story of scent with all the passion and devotion of a true artist.
Author: Amber Marks
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2011-12-31
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Crime detection has gone to the dogs and squirrels are being busted for espionage. If you've never wondered about the new direction of 'intelligence-led policing' in our society, now is the time to start. It was a chance encounter with a police sniffer-dog that drew criminal lawyer Amber Marks into the hidden world of the science of smell and its law-enforcement applications. Soon she stumbled into a wonderland of contemporary surveillance, where the spying skills of bees, dolphins and a myriad other critters were being harnessed to build a 'secure world' of bio-intelligence. From the businesses, scientists and military departments developing new smell-based surveillance technologies, to good old-fashioned police dogs, Amber discovered a secret world of security forces, where animals and scent are as important as intelligence agents and CCTV. Part polemical exploration of our burgeoning surveillance society, part humorous memoir, this intriguing book will capture your imagination and get you wondering: just who stands to benefit from all this 'security'?