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How do particular aspects of the Enlightenment contribute to
Transcript of How do particular aspects of the Enlightenment contribute to
How do particular aspects of the Enlightenment contribute to the historical and cultural context of Perfume? How do they influence choices Süskind makes in terms of his craft?
Alykhan Popat, Niamh Evans, Josh Smith-Sreen
Also called the "Age of Reason"
Age between 1650 and 1800 in Europe
Pulled people away from blind faith to religion and/or authority
Made people begin to question their surroundings using reason
Led to the outbreak of the French Revolution
Hobbes and Rousseau
Rousseau's varying support for the Enlightenmnt
The philsophies of the Enlightenment can be seen as its foundation in that all aspects of the Enlightenment built around the philosophy
In 18th Century France, the monarch was King Louis XV, who people thought God appointed
As he was Catholic, he made sure that the entirety of the population was Catholic as well
Surrounded by wealth and privilege, the church had immense power in society
In the Enlightenment, people began to stray away from religion as they began to express individuality and realize that the whole world could not be explained by religion alone, and they began to use reason as well
As people began to follow religion less diligently, it underminded the authority of their 'God appointed' king --> revolutionary thoughts
Newfound will to test things that were once just a given (challenging religion)
Controversial changes in perspectives due to experiments
Many chemical and astronomical advancements
Perfume by Patrick Süskind
The Enlightenment was a time of great artistic advancement
Art was a medium through which people could express their constantly changing ideas
Perfumery, a scientific approach to art, was advancing rapidly during this time
Perfume was heavy, sweet
Perfumery was expanding during the Enlightenment in France
Grasse was the birthplace of perfume and the center of the French perfume industry due to its geography
Paris was famously one of the 'smelliest' cities in France at the time for a number of reasons: poverty, disease, toxic waste, crowded, sanitation issues, etc.
Marketplaces were a major source of stench in Paris and around France. They were considered the "Stomach of Paris"
The 20,000+ deaths a year in Paris caused cemeteries to be another major source of stench
The process tanneries used contributed to stench as it involved lime usage and the disposal of waste consisting of hair, flesh, fat, human urine, and dog/bird droppings
Historical/Cultural Context of Perfume
The style of the author is rather multifaceted and can be seen to have been influenced by Enlightenment ideas
The author utilizes figurative language so as to heighten Enlightenment ideas within the text.
Questions/Tasks to get you thinking!
Süskind uses imagery (visual, olfactory, etc.) throughout the novel to emphasize his points. It can be seen how his imagery is used to enhance the presence of the Enlightenment setting in the text.
It can be seen how Süskind utilizes personification to give rise to Enlightenment ideas in the text, in that giving inanimate objects human actions in a way 'liberates' or 'frees' the objects, following Enlightenment ideas.
Have you been Enlightened?!
Motif of the River
"it was as if he [Baldini] himself and his house...were flowing away like the river, while he was too old and too weak to oppose the powerful current."
Motif of Light and Darkness
"just as all great accomplishments of the spirit cast both shadw and light, offering humankind vexation and misery along with their benefits"
Motif of God and Demon
Extra! Grenouille and the Enlightenment
Grenouille's actions and sense of self-determination seen throughout the novel reflect Enlightenment values. The way in which he's able to constantly make his own decisions without external influence can be linked to then Enlightenment. This is seen through:
Grenouille's nature. The way in which he is greedy, he is thirsty for scent. This constant desire for more.
Grenouille's flee from Paris, in which he fled from human civilization so as to be alone with his thoughts.
When Grenouille chooses to kill the girls in and around Grasse; it is an action based solely on his desire for their scent
Climax scene when Grenouille is about to get executed but uses his 'master perfume' to create an orgy of the crowd, reflects how fast a simple idea can spread
The Enlightenment: Philosophy/Intellect
Scientific theories such as that of 'Fludium Letale' were very prevalent during the Enlightenment. How might theories such as this contribute to the Enlightenment thinking?
The Enlightenment: General
Personally, what impacts has the Enlightenment had on your life and how have you adapted to those?
The Enlightenment: Science
The Enlightenment: Art
How did art allow for the expression of Enlightenment ideologies?
The Enlightenment: Religion
During the novel, Grenouille is likened to both God and a demon-like creature. How do these contrasting religious images link to the changing views towards religion at the time?
18th Century: Smell
In what ways did environmental factors (sanitary conditions, tannery emissions, etc.) of 18th century Paris contribute to the growing need for perfume at the time?
Think about it!
After understanding a little more about the Enlightenment, attempt to do the following task:
Write one short sentence using diction reflecting Enlightenment ideas. Share!
Pick up a slip of paper from the front of the class. The paper tells you your group. You will either be a philosopher, a scientist an artist or a nun/monk. Get into your groups.
Once here, you will be presented with 10 questions up on the board. You'll have 30 seconds as a group to answer each question. The group with the most right answers will get quite the prize, so we hope you paid attention!
Name 3 causes for the French Revolution that were realized in the Age of Enlightenment?
What is the basis for Marquis de La Taillade-Espinasse's scientific theory?
What aspect of Grenouille's nature reflects Enlightenment values?
In terms of smell, what was another name for marketplaces in Paris?
"A Religious Society the Example of Angers." Religion in 18th-century France. 23 Sept. 2013.
"18th Century." 18th Century. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013
"US Slave." : Filthy 18th Century Paris. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"The Great Stink of Paris and the Nineteenth-Century Struggle against Filth and Germs by David S Barnes ~ Perfume Books." :: Now Smell This. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"Paying Attention To The Sky." Paying Attention To The Sky. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"Hygiene in 18th Century France - Discussion." Hygiene in 18th Century France - Discussion. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"The History of Perfume." Is as Old as the Human Being Exists. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"History of Perfume." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
"Grasse." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
What are some of the ideas or philosophies during the 18th Century that might have led to the French revolution?
Think about it!
18th Century Paris can be described as an 'olfactory nightmare'. How does this fact contribute to Grenouille’s journey?
Make a list, or draw a picture (if you are more artistically gifted), outlining the changes caused by the Enlightenment in 18th Century Paris?
Take out a pencil and paper
Take out your copy of Perfume
Be ready to write quick responses to questions/discuss with a neighbor
Be ready to open to pages in your book
Note that we have used quotes from different versions of the novel, so the page numbers might not match exactly with your copy!
"She caressed them with her eyes"
“This time fear had set its jaws too firmly into their souls.”
Tone and Writing Style
Süskind effectively varies his tone throughout the novel by means of changing the point-of-view of the speaker. However, he is able to effectively associate his different writing styles to Enlightment ideas.
“Frangipani had liberated scent from matter,”
“Priests dawdling in coffeehouses”
"That odor had been the pledge for freedom"
“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”
Link to Grenouille
Sources of stench:
Grenouille was born in the center of Paris, in a ghastly fish market located next to a cemetery named Cimitere des Innocentes. He ended up working for a number of years in a tannery for Grimal. Connection?
On these pages, descriptions of different methods of perfumery can be found.
The variety in perfumery reflects Enlightenment ideology in that there are multiple ways of approaching something. The fact that Grasse had all the 'newest' perfumery techniques reflects advancements in the field.
“Do you understand, nothing else! The way you handle these things, your crudity , your primitive lack of judgement, demonstrate to me that you are a bungler, a barbaric…”
"In the salons people chattered about nohting but the orbits of comets and expeditions, about leverage and Newton, about building canals, the circulation of the blood and the diameter of the earth."
“learned folk of Montpellier, the most important university in the south of France”
“experienced the greatest hour of his life. Grenouille knew that all the praise being heaped on the Marquis was misplaced and that in effect, ‘these ovations were meant for him…alone…not one of those cheering suspected anything of the sort”
“captured the spectators …people’s facial expressions, their airs, their emotions were altered.’
“To be sure, he would never go as far as some – who questioned the miracles, the oracles, the very truth of Holy Scripture – even though the biblical texts could not, strictly speaking be explained by reason alone.”
“For a moment he allowed himself the fantastic thought that he was the father of the child. He had not become a monk, but rather a normal citizen, an upstanding craftsman perhaps, had taken a wife, a warm wife fragrant with milk and wool,”
"The latest is that...God didn't make the world in seven days, it's said, but over millions of years, if it was He at all"
‘for weeks he met not even a single person’
“…in that moment, as he saw and smelled how irresistible its effect was and how with lightning speed it spread and made captives of the people all around him—in that moment his whole disgust for humankind rose up again within him and completely soured his triumph, so that he felt not only no joy, but not even the least bit of satisfaction. What he had always longed for—that other people should love him—became at the moment of his achievement unbearable, because he did not love them himself, he hated them. And suddenly he knew that he had never found gratification in love, but always only in hatred—in hating and in being hated.”
"to the most remote regions of the country, even further from human beings"
“We are familiar with people who seek out solitude: penitents, failures, saints, or prophets. They retreat to desers, preferably, where they live on locusts and honey. Others, however, live in caves or cells on remote islands; some-more spectacularly-squat in cages mounted high atop poles swaying in the breeze. They do this to be nearer God. Their solitude is a self-moritification by which they do penance. They act in the belief that they are living a life pleasing to God. Or they wait months, years, for their solitude to be broken by some divine message that they hope then speedily to broadcast among mankind.”
Map of France (1789 - 1802)
(p170) "and because people are stupid and use their noses only for blowing, but believe asbsolutely anything they see with their eyes,"
Perfume is set in 18th century France, between 1730 and 1766, in the locations:
Cimitre des Innocentes
Madame Gaillard's Orphanage
Different locations around the city
Plomb du Cantal (a mountain in the middle of France)
On the summit in a cave
The power of smell is demonstrated in this quote. The way in which the author states that smell is able to persuade more than 'will' links it to the Enlightenment as the this era was about free will ideas. The power of both the Enlightenment and smell seem to resonate.
Did smell and its power contribute to the Age of Reason?
Was an increase in smell an effect of the Enlightenment?
“The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces. The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentice as did his master’s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the king himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the queen like an old goat, summer and winter.”
This quote is a short one taken from a long passage about stench from the first two pages of the book where the author sets the story.
It uses descriptive imagery in order to demonstrate the extent of the stench of Paris. The repetition of 'stank' emphasizes this.
This quote is taken from the section where Grenouille uses his instincts rather than scientific processes to create a perfume for Baldini, and Baldini becomes infuriated at his style. It reflects the Enlightenment in that new techniques of art were emerging all the time, and were probably opposed by some more 'traditional' artists.
Therefore, the text is set in the midst of the French Enlightenment. The way in which Süskind takes us around France gives us different perspectives of the French Enlightenment (Father Terrier, Baldini, etc.) In almost every aspect of the novel, evidence of the Enlightenment elements is clear.
Giving evidence of the Enlightenment, and that people question religion. Although this perspective (Father Terrier) is not in full support of these questioning views, he admits their validity. Demonstrates the effect of the Enlightenment on religion in the text's setting.
In conclusion, particular aspects of the Enlightenment (philosophy, science, religion, art and smell) very much contribute to the historical/cultural context of Perfume by Patrick Süskind and are evident playing roles throughout the text. In addition, it can be seen how Süskind made particular literary choices (in terms of style, figurative language, diction and character development) so as to reflect Enlightenment ideology and in this way to strengthen the setting of the text. Therefore, Süskind effectively creates an omnipresent feel of Enlightenment ideas in his novel, using different techniques to get them to permeate.
Indirectly exhibiting a holy man's desire to do something else, to stray away from religion and live a different life, reflecting Enlightenment changes.
Baldini thinking to himself concerning recent trends, of which he didn't support. However he does mention that there is speculation in society about God and religion.
The Age of Enlightenment (Reason) was all about blind faith in higher entities. True or false?
Rousseau said that in "natural conditions, human beings are _______"
a. solitary, nomadic and innocent
b. guilty , static and happy
c. self centred , free and lonely
Why did the King want every French citizen to be Catholic?
Why was Grasse the center of the French perfume industry?
What were three ingredients used in the tanning of leather?
At certain points in the novel, Süskind writes as if you are in the head of a character (i.e. Terrier, Baldini, Grenouille, etc), but still in 3rd person perspective. This close look at the individual thoughts of characters reflects Enlightenment ideas of individuality and free thought.
Can be seen to represent the Enlightenment and all the new changes that come along with it. Baldini is losing business against the new perfumer Pelissier and is therefore losing against the Enlightenment.
"this hectic mania for novelty had broken out in every quarter, this desperate desire for action, this craze of experimentation this rodomontade in commerce, in trade, and in the sciences!"
Indicating that scientific advancement was an everyday and rather casual occurence in this society, reflecting ideals of the Age of Reason.
Baldini reflecting about life, indirectly outlining a perspective of the Enlightenment. Describing what society would look like during this era.
“He had withdrawn solely for his own personal pleasure, only to be near to himself. No longer distracted by anything external, he basked in his own existence and found it splendid.”
The author makes very aware choices in terms of diction when incorporating ideas concerning the Enlightenment
The choice to tell Grenouille's story in the format of a Hero's Journey reflects Enlightenment ideals due to the following reasons:
it reflects individualism and self-determination.
it is told so as to see clear changes in the character, and the Enlightenment was a time of immense change.
it finishes where it began, reflecting the Enlightenment in that you can see clearly what changed from start to finish.
"his reckless creativity."
Quote taken from section of Baldini describing Pelissier and why he does well in this time of change. Creativity was immense during the Enlightenment, and a sort of 'reckless' creativity was actually the main driver of the Enlightenment. For this reason, Pelissier can be seen to be contributing to the Enlightenment whereas Baldini can be seen to be opposing it.
The choice to use "liberated" clearly coincides with Enlightenment ideals. Contextually, it fits as Baldini is discussing aspects of the era.
Baldini thinking to himself, discussing recent trends in society, in terms of religion. Süskind’s careful choice in diction is apparent. He creates a contrast between the connotations of ‘priests’ and ‘dawdling’, demonstrating the straying from religion at the time, an effect of the Enlightenment.
Giving fear a body, by means of jaws, gives an inanimate emotion some sort of life. By 'giving life' to non-living things, ideas of the Enlightenment arise.
boastful or inflated talk or behavior
Light and darkness can be seen to look at pre (a time of darkness) and post (a time of new ideas and light) Enlightenment society. In this case, it could be hinting at the fact that with the Enlightenment come pros and cons.
"He's possessed by the devil"
In terms of the Enlightenment, what might have Suskind intended for the motif of the river?
Giving the eyes a loving/caring quality reflects Enlightenment ideals
"Calm yourself, Jean Baptiste! Calm yourself my friend!"
"they would renounce their God and worship him, Grenouille the Great"
This contrast between two religious figures demonstrates Enlightenment religious views.