Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the smell of medieval cities and its role in shaping individual, collective, and social knowledge about navigating these realms. To breathe in medieval cities was a communal affair; men and women inhaled all aspects of this crowded, shared space, including the smell of its many animal and human inhabitants, its industries, and their collective detritus. Using literary and historical sources to create a medieval urban odour descriptor wheel, I argue that the smell of medieval cities was both more pungent and pleasurable than we usually assume; this wheel will hopefully help readers orient themselves towards new understandings about the vitality of smell in the past as well as in the present. Literary sources might usefully be combined with archaeological evidence and recent tools developed by urban geographers and computational social scientists that seek to translate visceral experiences into sensory maps of shared urban realms.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.