Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tastes of Paradise by Wolfgang Schivelbusch

I am most interested in the history of the senses. Our need and desire for sensual satisfaction has greatly impacted world history. Could who we are as a culture solely be due to the senses? I think the impact of sensual desire is often overlooked when examining culture and history.

One book that I find most intersting on this subject is Schivelbusch's Tastes of Paradise. From the preface, "This book deals not only with the history of Genussmittel - the spices, stimulants, and other substances ingested or inhaled by humans to produce a pleasurable effect - but more importantly with the question: In what say did these substances affect the history of man?" Just a quick note - I would change that last word to "humankind".

A comprehensive review of Tastes of Paradise by David Denborough. I found the review at the Dulwich Centre. Link here.

More books by Schivelbusch that I would like to read.

"Defeat in modern western history is the subject of this book, but the implications are global. The reaction of other civilisations to western victories is, after all, at the core of most interpretations of world events over recent centuries and indeed of most interpretations of today's international politics."-from an article by Martin Woolacott, The Guaridan, 2003. Link here.

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