Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text

GENERAL INTEREST

NEW

The Scent of Empires Chanel No. 5 and Red Moscow KARL SCHLÖGEL European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder Translated by Jessica Spengler Can a drop of perfume tell the story of the twentieth century? Can a smell bear the traces of history? What can we learn about the history of the twentieth century by examining the fate of perfumes? In this remarkable book, the historian Karl Schlögel unravels the interconnected histories of two of the world’s most celebrated perfumes. In Tsarist Russia, two French perfumers – Michel Beaux and Auguste Michel – developed related fragrances honouring Catherine the Great for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. During the Russian Revolution and Civil War, Beaux fled Russia and took the formula for his perfume with him to France, where he sought to adapt it to his new French circumstances. He presented Coco Chanel with a series of 10 fragrance samples in his laboratory and, after smelling each, she chose number five – the scent that would later go by the name Chanel No. 5. Meanwhile, as the perfume industry was being revived in Soviet Russia, Auguste Michel used his original fragrance to create Red Moscow for the tenth anniversary of the Revolution. Piecing together the intertwined histories of these two famous perfumes which shared a common origin, Schlögel tells a surprising story of power, intrigue and betrayal that offers an altogether unique perspective on the turbulent events and high politics of the twentieth century. This brilliant account of perfume and politics in twentieth-century Europe will be of interest to a wide general readership. 216 x 138mm • 214 pages • UK May 2021, US May 2021 HB • 978-1-5095-4659-6 • £20.00 / $25.00 / €24.90 ebook available

NEW

Terra Incognita A History of Ignorance in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries ALAIN CORBIN L’université Paris I PanthéonSorbonne Translated by Susan Pickford “Original as always in his approach to history, Alain Corbin tells the story of the discovery of the earth from 1750 to 1900 by emphasizing earlier ignorance of lands, seas and space. Written in the author’s usual lucid and accessible style, the book will appeal to general readers as well as scholars and students of history.” Peter Burke, University of Cambridge It is impossible fully to understand our forebears without some idea of what they did not know: the history of ignorance is an indispensable part of history itself. In this book, Alain Corbin sets out to develop a history of ignorance by focusing on what our predecessors in the 18th and 19th centuries knew and didn’t know about our planet. 216 x 138mm • 220 pages • UK June 2021, US September 2021 HB • 978-1-5095-4625-1 • £55.00 / $69.95 / €67.90 PB • 978-1-5095-4626-8 • £17.99 / $24.95 / €21.90 ebook available

WWW.POLITYBOOKS.COM 2

NEW

Nature’s Evil A Cultural History of Natural Resources ALEXANDER ETKIND European University Institute in Florence Translated by Sara Jolly This bold and wide-ranging book views the history of humankind through the prism of natural resources – how we acquire them, use them, value them, trade them, exploit them. History needs a cast of characters and in this story the leading actors are peat and hemp, grain and iron, fur and oil, each with its own tale to tell. The uneven spread of available resources was the prime mover for trade, which in turn led to the accumulation of wealth, the growth of inequality and the proliferation of evil. Different sorts of raw material have different political implications and give rise to different social institutions. When a country switches its reliance from one commodity to another, this often leads to wars and revolutions. But none of these crises go to waste – they all lead to dramatic changes in the relations between matter, labour and the state. Our world is the result of a fragile pact between people and nature. As we stand on the verge of climate catastrophe, nature has joined us in our struggle to distinguish between good and evil. And since we have failed to change the world, now is the moment to understand how it works. Series: New Russian Thought 229 x 152mm • 350 pages • UK September 2021, US October 2021 HB • 978-1-5095-4758-6 • £25.00 / $35.00 / €30.90 ebook available

A History of Silence From the Renaissance to the Present Day ALAIN CORBIN Translated by Jean Birrell “Alain Corbin is one of the most imaginative historians writing anywhere. His series of brilliant studies of the senses includes his ‘auditory landscape’ of the nineteenth century. Here, the search is for silence, its sounds and meanings. This is a gem, beautiful and thought-provoking.” John Merriman, Charles Seymour Professor of History, Yale University “Alain Corbin is renowned for pushing historical writing into new areas. In A History of Silence he goes further still: not only into the history of an elusive and many-sided concept, but into its philosophy, theology and literature too.” Robert Tombs, University of Cambridge Silence is not simply the absence of noise. It characterises our most intimate spaces and inspires writers who have long sought solitude in mountains and forests. Today, when noise is everywhere, historian Alain Corbin goes back to a time when speech was rare and precious, showing how silence can still offer a richer experience of life. 216 x 138mm • 184 pages • 2018 HB • 978-1-5095-1735-0 • £50.00 / $64.95 / €61.90 PB • 978-1-5095-1736-7 • £14.99 / $19.95 / €18.90 ebook available

Skip to main content