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Transcript of Perfume: Context
Suskind declined a five-thousand dollar prize for best novel from
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Born in 1949
Studied Medieval and Modern history at the University of Munich
Completed a master of arts degree at the University of Aix-en-Provence, France in 1974,
He studied in the perfume producing country of southern France
Lives as a
A person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid other people
Never grants interviews or allows photos
Who does this remind you of?
Raised in Ambach, Germany
If you had to choose...
Struggles of a starving
Kenyan boy in Africa
The struggles of a student in a North American high school
Structure of the Novel
The novel was written in third person, omniscient
A third person perspective creates
the reader from Grenouille
making it extremely difficult to feel
Chapters are very short and from different people's perspective
Novel is divided into four parts
Ends with Grenouille leaving Paris and Baldini dies
Grenouille leaves Montpeiller. Taillade-Espinasse disappears
He leaves Grasse for Paris. Dominique Druot dies
Goes back to Paris where he was born
Why do you think this is?
each part represents a part of Grenouille's life and his growth an development
almost everyone he comes into contact with dies
spreads death and misery
Why does Grenouille "want to acquire the human being odour"?
Why does Grenouille go to the mountain and spend seven years there without any human contact?
How was Grenouille treated all his life?
Why does Grenouille prefer exhaling to inhaling?
Imagine if you were in 18th century France...
"For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they couldn't escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath"
oppressed all his life
"...human effluvium had oppressed hm like air heavy with an imminent thunderstorm"
"new found respiratory freedom"
never had any freedom
"Grenouille no longer wanted to go somewhere, but only to go away, away from human beings" (117)
author proves that Grenouille is indeed not human
Why is grenouille so afraid when he finds out that he does not have a scent?
Every human being has a scent
Part of their identity
First time that Grenouille realizes that he is not human, but a monster!!
"Only a person who gave off that standard vile vapour was ever considered one of their own" (149)
"...not just accept him as one of them, but love him to the point of insanity"
Knowing what his childhood was like, why would Grenouille want to be accepted and loved?
Grenouille"had never felt love" (190)
"it is truly not how she looks that has captured them, not her reputed unblemished external beauty, but solely her incomparable, splendid scent!"
Explain the significance!
18th Century France(Renaissance)
France is governed by the middle class (Bourgeoisie Liberal Revolution)
Why do you think Patrick Süskind chose this time period?
Fetish for perfume.
Paris was very smelly/dirty at the time-covered up the stench.
Patrick Süskind was inspired by his atmosphere.
Lost in Translation
reading translated text does not have the same effect as reading the text in its original language.
par exemple: savoir faire
translations do not guarantee that the style of the text remains true to the author's style in the original text.
the author's culture:
the culture in the text:
the reader's culture: that's you!
the book helps us to overcome these limitations by exposing us to a different culture & time period!
Intertextuality: Genesis, the Bible
God said, 'Let the waters be alive with a swarm
of living creatures, and let birds wing their way
above the earth across the vault of heaven.'
And so it was.
Then Grenouille the great commanded the rain to stop. And it was so.
21 God created great sea-monsters and all the
creatures that glide and teem in the waters in
their own species, and winged birds in their
own species. God saw that it was good.
And he set the gentle sun of his smile upon the land; whereupon, to a bud, the hosts of blossoms unfolded their glory , from one end of his empire to another, creating a single rainbowed carpet woven from myriad precious capsules of fragrance. And Grenouille the great
saw that it was good, very, very good.
God saw all that he had made,
and it was very good
"Behold, i have done a great thing,
and I am well pleased."
Jean Baptist the Tick
He offers nothing to the world - not even his smell
blind, deaf and dumb and simply sniffs all year long,
lonely, wrapped in itself
Jean Baptist the Tick
"...stubborn, sullen and loathsome if an animal stands directly below the tree, only then does the tick abandon caution and drop, and scratch and bore and bite into the alien flesh…" (21)
Monster or Man?
"He was an abomination from the start" (21)
"Grenouille, the solitary tick, the abomination, Grenouille the Monster, who had never felt love and would never be able to inspire it, stood there behind the city wall of Grasse on that day in March and loved and was profoundly happy in his love." (190)
La Marquis de Taillard - Espinasse