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A History of the Senses: From Antiquity to Cyberspace

Robert Jütte, James Lynn (Translated by)
ISBN: 978-0-7456-2957-5
320 pages
December 2004, Polity
A History of the Senses: From Antiquity to Cyberspace (0745629571) cover image
This path-breaking book examines our attitudes to the senses from antiquity through to the present day. Robert Jutte explores a wealth of different traditions, images, metaphors and ideas that have survived through time and describes how sensual impressions change the way in which we experience the world.

Throughout history, societies have been both intrigued or unsettled by the five senses. The author looks at the way in which the social world conditions our perception and traces the 'rediscovery' of sensual pleasure in the twentieth century, paying attention to experiences as varied as fast food, deoderization, and extra-sensory perception. He concludes by exploring technological change and cyberspace, reflecting on how developments in these fields will affect our relationship with the senses in the future.

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List of Illustrations.

Tuning Up Conspicuous Manifestations - (Un-)Timely Reflections.

Part I Senses and Historicity.

1. Approaching the Superhistorical.

Part II The Traditional Order of the Sense: From Antiquity to the Early Modern Era.

2.Conceptions: The Sensorium.

3.Classifications: The Hierarchy of the Senses.

4. Representations: Allegories.

5. Practices: The Senses and their Ailments.

Part III From the World of the Senses to the World of Reason.

(Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries).

6. Philosophical Sensualism in the Age of Sensibility.

7.The Senses and Aesthetics.

8. The Education of the Senses.

9. The Transformation of the Senses by Industrialization and Technology.

10. Experimental Physiology and the Separation of the Senses.

Part IV The 'Rediscovery' of the Senses in the Twentieth Century.

11. Touching - or The New Pleasure in the Body.

12. Tasting - or What do Fast Food and Nouvelle Cuisine Share in Common?.

13. Scenting - or From Deodorization to Reodorization.

14. Listening Effects - or The Art and Power of Noise.

15. Ways of Seeing -or The Human Rights of the Eye.

16. Psi-Phenomena - or The Exploration of Extra-Sensory Perception.

Outlook.

17. Cyberspace and the Future of the Senses.

Notes.

Index

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Robert Jutte is Head of the Robert Bosch Foundation Institute of Medicine and Professor of Modern History at Stuttgart University
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  • A pioneering historical study of the five senses, ranging across a range of cultures from Antiquity to the present day;
  • Explores a wealth of different traditions, images, metaphors and ideas that have survived through time and describes how sensual impressions change the way in which we experience the world;
  • Traces the ‘rediscovery’ of sensual pleasure in the twentieth century, paying attention to experiences as varied as fast food, deoderization, and extra-sensory perception;
  • Concludes by reflecting on how technological developments will affect our relationship with the senses in the future.
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'Jutte’s ambitious yet accessible book offers a lucid and judicious summary of research in this new and expanding field, as well as making a contribution of its own, distinguishing three periods in the history of the senses and offering intelligent speculations about future developments.' Peter Burke, Professor of Cultural History, University of Cambridge

'Stimulating and impressive... In this pioneering study Jutte unfolds a panorama of how societies have been fascinated or unsettled by any of the five senses, and invites the reader to respond with curiosity, humour and profound interest to follow through his discussion from antiquity to visions of the future.' Dr Ulinka Rublack, University of Cambridge

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