Cover - Smell and History

Smell and History: A Reader – Mark M. Smith

In this book, Mark M. Smith, a history professor specialising in sensory history, compiled ten recent essays exploring the diverse ways in which smells have shaped humans’ experience, beliefs and practices. Opening with a discussion of the foundational work of Alain Corbin and the rise of modern sensibility, the collection then takes the reader from the making of Christianity to the stench of ancient Rome, from the discovery of North America to Victorian England, from the politicisation of smells in racist discourses to enquiries in the realm of art and aesthetics.

Although it fails to address non-Western perspectives, Smell and History is a relatively comprehensive and easy introduction for anyone who is curious about the subject – but not curious enough to read a dozen books from cover to cover!

Smell and History: A Reader – Mark M. Smith (ed.), Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2019, 264 pages, $26.99


This review has been published in Nez, the olfactory magazine – #08 – Addictive Substances. This issue is available on www.nez-editions.us for North America and on the Auparfum Ship for other countries.

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US interdisciplinary artist Beatrice Glow gathered eight contributors – curators, artists, art historians and journalists – to put together this multilingual book (English, Spanish) based on two exhibitions at Chile’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago (2016) and James B. Duke House in New York (2017). Exploring the socio-political history of plants and spices, Glow challenges a Western-centric view of colonial history by focussing on pre-colonial cultures.

Through scents, such as those of the spice trade, she tells of the violence of European colonial powers in South America. The book features essays, interviews, studio notes, olfactory descriptions, ancient maps and engravings, and illustrations of the artist’s works.

The first edition - which is now sold out - also included a limited-edition aromatic artwork, VII, created especially for the publication. 

Aromérica Parfumeur - Beatrice Glow, Maria Montt Strabucchi, Robin Joyce, Kristen Gaylord, KJ Baysa, Leslie Josephs, Senaquerib Astudillo, Amanda White and Jerónimo Bouza, 2018, 140 pages, $40
Available at: beatriceglow.org/shop/.


This review has been published in Nez, the olfactory magazine - #06 - Mind and Body. This issue is available on www.nez-editions.us for North America and on the Auparfum Shop for other countries.

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The Millot house created the legendary Crêpe de Chine composed by Jean Desprez in 1925. Beginning in 1860, when the brand was founded by Félix Millot, to when it was taken over by Révillon perfumes in 1966, more than 100 years of history are covered here by Laurianne Millot and Odile Thiriot.

Their study is meticulous, thorough and passionate, encompassing topics such as perfumer-creators, flacons, advertising campaigns, and world fairs. Taking us into the day-to-day running of a great perfume house, the book also casts light, beyond the example of Millot, on the way perfumers did business intimes gone by, from hygiene issues to product distribution and, in parallel, the role of women in the industry.

F. Millot Perfumer – from L’Eau Magique to Crêpe de Chine, The History of a Family, Laurianne Millot and Odile Thiriot, Le Pythagore, 2018, 128 pages,  27€. This book is available on the Auparfum Shop


This review has been published in Nez, the olfactory magazine - #05 - Natural and Synthetic. This issue is available on www.nez-editions.us for North America and on the Auparfum Shop for other countries.

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