Time, Desire and Horror

Time, Desire and Horror : Towards a History of the Senses

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In this book Alain Corbin argues that the 1860s were a crucial period for western civilization, characterized by radical changes in the way Europeans viewed themselves and their world. Corbin examines urban development, the new mobility of the population, prostitution and policing, personal hygiene and the social plagues of alcoholism, tuberculosis and venereal disease.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 166 x 238 x 20mm | 490g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745611311
  • 9780745611310
  • 991,678

Back cover copy

Alain Corbin is one of the foremost social and cultural historiansin Europe today. In this elegant and lucid study he argues that the1860s were a crucial period for western civilization, characterizedby radical changes in the way Europeans viewed themselves and theirworld.

Focusing on France, Corbin shows how order was imposed on theurban space of its capital city, with the creation of greatboulevards, airy apartment buildings, parks, lights and sewers. Thewhole of the country, he claims, was deeply affected by the newmobility of its population, and by the more rapid circulation ofcommodities and information.

Using the example of prostitution, he describes the way in whichnew modes of social control and policing emerged. Throughout theperiod, he suggests, there developed a new concern for the self andthe body, for the fashioning of appearances and all thingsintimate. Corbin argues that attention to personal hygiene nowbecame a requirement, and biological anxiety was focused on thethree social plagues of alcoholism, tuberculosis and venerealdisease.

Finally, he argues that, with the increase in the speed oftravel and communication, marked changes took place in Europeans'conception of time, and in particular their desire for free time, time to oneself.

The book will be welcomed by students and researchers in thesocial and cultural history of Europe, and of early modern Francein particular.
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Table of contents

Publishera s Note. Preface to the English Edition. 1. The Daily Arithmetic of the Nineteenth Century. 2. The Great Century of Linen. 3. Agitation in Provincial Theatres under the Restoration. 4. The Archaeology of the Housewife and Bourgeois Fantasies. 5. The a Sex in Mourninga and the History of Nineteenth--Century Women. 6. The Doomed Education of the Nineteenth--Century Prostitute. 7. Nineteenth--Century Prostitutes and the a Vast Effort for Nothinga . 8. Hereditary Syphilis or the Impossible Redemption. A Contribution to the History of Morbid Heredity. 9. The Little Bible for Young Marrieds. 10. Public Opinion, Policy and Industrial Pollution in the Pre--Haussmann Town. 11. The Peasants of Paris: A History of Limousin Building Workers in the Nineteenth Century. 12. The Blood of Paris: Reflections on the Genealogy of the Image of the Capital. 13. A History and Anthropology of the Senses. Index.
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Review quote

"Alain Corbin is one of the most innovative and stimulating historians of modern France, who has pioneered new directions in the social and cultural history of the recent past. He applies to modern society techniques and approaches usually confined to medieval and early modern history. In several already classic works, he explores the history and anthropology of sensation, a quest taken further in this remarkable volume of essays. It covers an admirable range of the unexpected, including the measurement of time; the meanings of body linen; sex; and bloodshed in Paris. He wears his scholarship lightly, is unfailingly thought--provoking, and writes with passion and compassion both for the specialist, and for the general reader." Robert Tombs, University of Cambridge "Good social and cultural historians are both fact--bound and original at once, so the requirements for being either keep rising ... none succeeds more impressively in both fields than Alain Corbin. Corbina s thirteen chapters ... make a great little book not least because of their very diversity." Journal of Social History "Corbin is one of Francea s best historians of the nineteenth century; he is indisputably the most adventuresome. For readers interested in a sampling of one of Francea s most daring historians, this book is a good place to start." Choice
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About Alain Corbin

Alan Corbin is Professor of Modern History at the University of Paris I, Sorbonne.
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