Reading Smell in Eighteenth-Century Fiction offers an often amusing and generally informative probe into the varied scentscapes of the eighteenth century. This book provides some surprising links and productive insights, and opens terrain for further inquiry into bodies and culture in the 1700s.
Emily C. Friedman presents an enormous wealth of information about smells, fair and foul, addictive and absent, in the long eighteenth century. . . . The orderliness and care with which Friedman has gathered this immensely important body of evidence makes for a pleasurable read. This illuminating topic, so timely in its address to the importance of the senses and the role of material experience in literary historical writing, has been treated with great sensitivity. The range and depth of Friedman’s reading, and the context she has brought to bear, make the value of this material eminently clear. The book’s wide and thorough survey, supported by solid historical detail, owes its methodology to cultural studies.