Larry Shiner, Art Scents: Exploring the Aesthetics of Smell and the Olfactory Arts, Oxford University Press, 2020, 355pp., $78.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190089818.
Reviewed by Benjamin D. Young, University of Nevada, Reno
Larry Shiner’s book is a great exploratory sniff of the aesthetics of smell and the myriad types of odorific arts. Shiner does a fantastic job of introducing those unfamiliar with the subject matter to the use of smells as artwork, as well as their importance within aesthetic experiences across history and cultures. The book offers a pluralist conception of art that makes room for worldwide olfactory aesthetics, drawing on numerous historical and contemporary examples of scent arts, introductory olfactory neuroscience, and careful philosophical analysis with easy-to-follow arguments. The central moves in the core arguments are carefully laid out at the outset and elaborated throughout the book, ensuring the reader is not lost in this cross-disciplinary tome. An overview of Shiner’s argument…
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