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"Private Investigator Bernie Little and his canine companion Chet return home to encounter some alarming developments. First off, Bernie's wall safe--normally hidden behind the waterfall picture in the office--is gone, and with it Bernie's grandfather's watch, their most valuable possession. And next door, old Mr. Parsons is under investigation for being in possession of a saguaro cactus illegally transplanted from the desert. Bernie and Chet go deep into the desert to investigate. Is it possible that such a lovely old couple have a terrible secret in their past?"--Amazon.com.
This lively, accessible book is the first to explore Victorian literature through scent and perfume, presenting an extensive range of well-known and unfamiliar texts in intriguing and imaginative new ways that make us re-think literature's relation with the senses. Concentrating on aesthetic and decadent authors, Scents and Sensibility introduces a rich selection of poems, essays, and fiction, exploring these texts with reference to both the little-known cultural history of perfume use and the appreciation of natural fragrance in Victorian Britain. It shows how scent and perfume are used to convey not merely moods and atmospheres but the nuances of the aesthete or decadent's carefully cultivated identity, personality, or sensibility. A key theme is the emergence of the olfactif, the cultivated individual with a refined sense of smell, influentially represented by the poet and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne, who is emulated by a host of canonical and less well-known aesthetic and decadent successors such as Walter Pater, Edmund Gosse, John Addington Symonds, Lafcadio Hearn, Michael Field, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Symons, Mark Andre Raffalovich, Theodore Wratislaw, and A. Mary F. Robinson. This book explores how scent and perfume pervade the work of these authors in many different ways, signifying such diverse things as style, atmosphere, influence, sexuality, sensibility, spirituality, refinement, individuality, the expression of love and poetic creativity, and the aura of personality, dandyism, modernity, and memory. A coda explores the contrasting twentieth-century responses of Virginia Woolf and Compton Mackenzie to the scent of Victorian literature.
How are smells invested with meaning and how do those meanings structure interactions and group relations? I use cultural theories of meaning-making to explore these questions, situating my inquiry in the world of commercially marketed perfumes. Using blind smell tests in focus groups, I examine how individuals make sense of certain fragrances absent direction from manufacturers or marketing materials. I find that most participants can correctly decode perfume manufacturers’ intended message, target users, and usage sites. I unpack the role of culture in these initial classifications of smells, and later, in how participants apply those evaluations to reify social boundaries and reproduce social relations—especially with reference to race and class. I also identify two cognitive mechanisms—embodied simulation and iterative reprocessing—illustrating how these mechanisms facilitate a dynamic interaction between practical and discursive modes of consciousness in deciphering smells. Finally, I elaborate the role of sociocultural location in olfactory meaning-making. People in all locations may be familiar with public olfactory codes, but social position influences how participants think about, interpret, and apply those codes in meaning-making.
A pioneering exploration of olfaction that upsets settled notions of how the brain translates sensory information. Decades of cognition research have shown that external stimuli “spark” neural patterns in particular regions of the brain. This has fostered a view of the brain as a space that we can map: here the brain responds to faces, there it perceives a sensation in your left hand. But it turns out that the sense of smell—only recently attracting broader attention in neuroscience—doesn’t work this way. A. S. Barwich asks a deceptively simple question: What does the nose tell the brain, and how does the brain understand it? Barwich interviews experts in neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, and perfumery in an effort to understand the biological mechanics and myriad meanings of odors. She argues that it is time to stop recycling ideas based on the paradigm of vision for the olfactory system. Scents are often fickle and boundless in comparison with visual images, and they do not line up with well-defined neural regions. Although olfaction remains a puzzle, Barwich proposes that what we know suggests the brain acts not only like a map but also as a measuring device, one that senses and processes simple and complex odors. Accounting for the sense of smell upsets theories of perception philosophers have developed. In their place, Smellosophy articulates a new model for understanding how the brain represents sensory information.
'I've long wished perfumery to be taken seriously as an art, and for scent critics to be as fierce as opera critics, and for the wearers of certain "fragrances" to be hissed in public, while others are cheered. This year has brought Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, which I breathed in, rather than read, in one delighted gulp.' Hilary Mantel, Guardian Perfumes: The Guide is the culmination of Turin's lifelong obsession and rare scientific flair and Sanchez's stylish and devoted blogging about every scent that she's ever loved and loathed. Together they make a fine and utterly persuasive argument for the unrecognised craft of perfume-making. Perfume writing has certainly never been this honest, compelling or downright entertaining.
I could smell him - or rather the booze on his breath - before he even opened the door, but my sense of smell is pretty good, probably better than yours. So begins this fabulous, funny new detective novel featuring Bernie, a slightly down-at-heel PI; and his off sider, Chet, a dog - and the captivating narrator of the story. Chet may have flunked out of police school (I'd been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn't remember exactly, although blood was involved), but he's just as much a detective as Bernie - superior, sometimes, in his insight into human foibles. In Dog On It, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who's definitely gotten herself mixed up with some very unsavoury characters.
In the seventh installment in the brilliant New York Times bestselling mystery series, canine narrator Chet and PI Bernie Little journey to Washington, DC, and the dog-eat-dog world of our nation’s capital. Stephen King has called Chet “a canine Sam Spade full of joie de vivre.” Robert B. Parker dubbed Spencer Quinn’s writing “major league prose.” Now the beloved team returns in another suspenseful novel that finds Chet sniffing around the capital city and using his street smarts to uncover a devilish plot. Chet and Bernie pay a visit to Bernie’s girlfriend, Suzie Sanchez, an ace reporter living in far-off Washington, DC. She’s working on a big story she can’t talk about, but when her source, a mysterious Brit with possible intelligence connections, runs into trouble of the worst kind, Bernie suddenly finds himself under arrest. Meanwhile Chet gets to know a powerful DC operative who may or may not have the goods on an ambitious politician. Soon Chet and Bernie are sucked into an international conspiracy, battling unfamiliar forces under the blinking red eyes of a strange bird that Chet notices from the get-go but seems to have slipped by everybody else. Most menacing of all is Barnum, a guinea pig with the fate of the nation in his tiny paws. As Harry Truman famously quipped, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Too bad he didn’t get to meet Chet!