From the Renaissance on, sight and hearing have been viewed more and more as the noble senses, reminiscent of the divine, unlike the proximal senses, too closely associated with animality and sexuality. The sense of smell was the one most targeted by the Moralists, for they believed that the devil hid behind waste, plague vapours, human excrement and the lower body, particularly that of the female. Therefore the self-monitoring of such layers of hell, especially by the nose (whose form and length were thought to equate with those of the male and female sex organs), was the subject of every scholarly discourse, while stenches prevailed in this world, especially in large cities such as Paris or Naples. A multiform shaming mechanism urged us to reject and to sublimate this strongly animalistic side of humans. However, eliminating bad odours was not yet on the agenda. In fact, we were treating one evil with another, chasing away the plague by using the even more terrible odour of a goat, and by protecting body orifices and skin pores with highly fragrant substances. Perfumes, often of animal origin (musk), were used to chase away demons, but were also viewed as satanic traps. Such ambivalence persisted until the mid-18th century, when perfumes-increasingly floral-gained popularity in a more hedonic world. They then became part of a sublimation process by producing an olfactive barrier to counteract external stenches and body odours. Robert Muchembled, Professor Emeritus at Universite de Paris 13 (Paris Sorbonne Cite) and Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur, has written over 30 books translated into several dozen languages, notably La Societe policee. Politique et politesse en France du XVIe au XXe siecle (Seuil, 1998); Une histoire du diable, XIIe-XXe siecle (Seuil, 2000); and Passions de femmes au temps de la reine Margot (1553-1615) (Seuil, 2003), etc. Pourquoi l'odorat, ce sens primordial d'adaptation au danger comme de reperage du meilleur partenaire sexuel, demeure-t-il si meconnu ? Son histoire paradoxale, pour peu qu'on s'y attache, est des plus captivantes. Dans cette synthese sans equivalent, Robert Muchembled mene l'enquete et presente les extraordinaires mutations de l'odorat en Occident, de la Renaissance au debut du XIXe siecle.Les sources utilisees sont multiples et riches : manuels de physiognonomie ; oeuvres de medecins, philosophes, poetes, conteurs, theologiens, polemistes, moralistes ; traites de civilite, traites de "Secrets pour dames" ; edits royaux ; reglements du metier de gantier parfumeur, inventaires apres-deces (apothicaires, gantiers parfumeurs) ; iconographie du sens olfactif...Muchembled s'empare de cet extraordinaire ensemble et dresse l'histoire du puissant refoulement qui, depuis un demi-millenaire, nous a fait considerer l'odorat comme le plus meprisable des sens avant que de le hisser recemment au rang du plus affute. Des miasmes exhales par les concentrations humaines aux emanations intimes nauseabondes, des senteurs "excrementielles" (musc, civette et ambre) pretendument protectrices de la peste aux condamnations des moralistes, de la revolution olfactive du XVIIIe siecle, qui transforme la goutte de parfum floral ou fruite en vecteur d'hedonisme jusqu'aux dernieres decouvertes scientifiques, c'est a un extraordinaire voyage olfactif dans la civilisation des moeurs que Muchembled convie son lecteur.
A History of the Devil
Author: Robert Muchembled
This highly original and engaging book by French historian Robert Muchembled, is a journey through time and space in search of the changing perception and significance of the devil in Western culture. An outstanding book about the changing perception and significance of the devil in Western culture. Robert Muchembled is a well-known historian and an expert on witchcraft, whose work has already been translated into many languages. The author highlights the way that the changing notion of evil is connected to other changes in society at large. Draws on a wealth of examples, from the witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, to the films of Stanley Kubrick.
La liste exhaustive des ouvrages disponibles publiés en langue française dans le monde. La liste des éditeurs et la liste des collections de langue française.
Author: Robert Muchembled
Publisher: Editions Du Seuil
Damned explores the long, dark history of one of the most influential figures in Western history: the Devil. With an extraordinary array of images from medieval illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance painting to modern cinema, comic strips, and advertising, Damned portrays the Devil in both religious and secular realms, while the text traces the Devil's evolution from the sadistic beast of the monastic imagination to the Devil who lurks inside every pleasure-seeking individual today.
Author: David P. Jordan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
The Paris we know today, with its grand boulevards, its bridges and parks, its monumental beauty, was essentially built in only seventeen years, in the middle of the nineteenth century. In this brief period, whole neighborhoods of medieval and revolutionary Paris -- over-crowded, dangerous, and filthy -- were razed, and from the rubble a modern city of light and air emerged. This triumphant rebuilding was chiefly the work of one man, Baron Georges Haussmann, Napoleon III's Prefect of the Seine. It was Haussmann's task to assert, in stone, the power and permanence of Paris, to show the world that it was the seat of an empire of mythic proportions. To this end, he imposed grand visual perspectives, as when he transformed Napoleon I's Arc de Triomphe into a magnificent twelve-armed star from which radiated the broadest boulevards of Europe. Below ground, his modern sewer system became one of the wonders of the civilized world, eagerly toured by royalty and commoners alike. Haussmann's mandate was not only to create an impression of grandeur but to secure the city for better control by government. By creating formal spaces where there had previously been a maze of chaotic streets, Haussmann opened Paris to effective police control and thwarted the recurrent demonstration of its well-known revolutionary fervor. The determined and autocratic Haussmann imprinted rational order and bourgeois civility on the unruly city which had for so long simmered with riot and insurrection. Though he planted chestnut trees, installed gas lights, rebuilt the water supply, and improved transportation and housing, Haussmann's labors were (and remain) controversial. He forced tens of thousands of the poor from the center of the city, and destroyed significant parts of old Paris. But in this important new biography David Jordan reminds us that Haussmann was not immune to the charms of the old city. By leaving some areas intact, the Baron achieved the grand effect of implanting a modern city boldly within an ancient one. Here, at last, Haussmann's labors are given the aesthetic as well as the historical appreciation they deserve.
Science and Polity in France
Author: Charles Coulston Gillispie
Publisher: Princeton University Press
By the end of the eighteenth century, the French dominated the world of science. And although science and politics had little to do with each other directly, there were increasingly frequent intersections. This is a study of those transactions between science and state, knowledge and power--on the eve of the French Revolution. Charles Gillispie explores how the links between science and polity in France were related to governmental reform, modernization of the economy, and professionalization of science and engineering.
Violence is so much in the news today that we may find it hard to believe that it is less prevalent than it was in the past. But this is exactly what the distinguished historian Robert Muchembled argues in this major new work on the history of violence. He shows that brutality and homicide have been in decline since the thirteenth century. The thesis of a ‘civilizing process', of a gradual taming, even sublimation, of violence, seems, therefore, to be well-founded. How are we to explain this decline in public displays of aggression? What mechanisms have modernizing societies employed to repress and control violence? The increasingly strict social control of unmarried, male adolescents, together with the coercive education imposed on this age group, are central to Muchembled's explanation. Masculine violence gradually disappeared from public space, to become concentrated in the home. Meanwhile, a vast popular literature, precursor of the modern mass media, came to play a cathartic role: the duels of The Three Musketeers and the amazing exploits of Fantômas, as described in the new crime literature invented in the nineteenth century, now helped to purge the violent impulses. And yet we seem, in the first few years of the twenty-first century, to be witnessing a resurgence of violence, especially among the youths of the inner cities. How should we understand this resurgence in relation to the long history of violence in the West?
A Century of Artists Books
Author: Riva Castleman, Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.)
Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Published to accompany the 1994 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, this book constitutes the most extensive survey of modern illustrated books to be offered in many years. Work by artists from Pierre Bonnard to Barbara Kruger and writers from Guillaume Apollinarie to Susan Sontag. An importnt reference for collectors and connoisseurs. Includes notable works by Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.
When the famous anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss arrived in Rio de Janeiro, he had one book in his pocket: Jean de Léry's History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil. Léry had undertaken his fascinating and arduous voyage in 1556, as a youthful member of the first Protestant mission to the New World. Janet Whatley presents the first complete English translation of one of the most vivid early European accounts of life in the New World.
Memoirs of the Crusades
Author: Geoffroi de Villehardouin, Jean Joinville (sire de)
Africa Under Colonial Domination, 1880-1935
Author: A. Adu Boahen, Unesco. International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Africa
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Explores how the different peoples of Africa view their civilizations and shows the historical relationships between the various parts of the continent, historical connections with other continents, and Africa's contribution to the development of human civilization.