The odoriferous 18th century


Podcast produced by Jo Barratt

Susan Sontag said smelling ‘gives one a sensation of knowledge rinsed clean of thought’.  The effect of smell is powerful, but rarely articulated and therefore rarely recorded.

So how does an historian of smell go about his work?  There are millions upon millions of smells, but how can he recreate them and how does he understand what they meant to people?

In this podcast, first broadcast on Life in Scents, William Tullett – an historian at Kings College London  specialising in 18th Century England and in particular Sensory historySmellHistory of PerfumesHistory of the Senses, and Gesture – talks about how he rebuilds sensescapes from the things left behind.

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