The problem with pleasure!

Scents and in particular fragrances are often discussed as enjoable and pleasurable experiences. Thus this recent scholarly book deserves a closer look when discussing Huxley’s feelies or James Joyce and the scent of modernity.

In “The Problem with Pleasure”, Frost draws upon a wide variety of materials, linking interwar amusements, such as the talkies, romance novels, the Parisian fragrance Chanel no. 5, and the exotic confection Turkish Delight, to the artistic play of Joyce, Lawrence, Stein, Rhys, and others. She considers pop cultural phenomena and the rise of celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino and Gypsy Rose Lee against contemporary sociological, scientific, and philosophical writings on leisure and desire:

“In Brave New World synthetic perfume is one among numerous engineered sensual pleasures that pacify the masses. It is a feature of public space: restrooms, hotels, and even hospitals are fitted with scent dispensers offering a medley of synthetic odors.”
Frost, L. C. (2013). The problem with pleasure: modernism and its discontents. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, p. 41