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Signature scents: perfume and characterization in the contemporary novel
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).
2010 (English)In: The Senses & Society, ISSN 1745-8927, Vol. 5, no 3, 301-321 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Perfume critique is an underdeveloped academic field and this includes considerations of perfume as a theme within other art forms such as literature. In this article, Angela Carter’s Wise Children and Monika Fagerholm’s Wonderful Women by the Sea are read alongside perfume blogs in order to analyze the significance of perfume references in the novels. It is demonstrated that the authors’ choice of perfumes for their characters plays a crucial part in their characterization, especially in relation to the theme of identity change. Using Alfred Gell’s analysis of perfume use as bound up with “the transcendence of the sweet life,” it is argued that female characters use perfume to become someone else, sometimes a past self. Furthermore, the use of perfume as a literary device in these novels is shown serve as the vehicle for a feminist critique of the division between “masculine” “high” and “feminine” “low” culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Berg , 2010. Vol. 5, no 3, 301-321 p.
Keyword [en]
perfume, olfaction, novel, Angela Carter, Monika Fagerholm, gender
Keyword [sv]
parfym, lukt, roman, Angela Carter, Monika Fagerholm, genus
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-36002DOI: 10.2752/174589210X12753842356007ISI: 000284810700001OAI: diva2:351361
Available from: 2010-09-14 Created: 2010-09-14 Last updated: 2015-10-06Bibliographically approved

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Solander, Tove
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ReferencesLink to record
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