Theryn Fleming's Reviews > Sensing the Past: Seeing, Hearing, Smelling, Tasting, and Touching in History

Sensing the Past by Mark M. Smith
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-in-2010s, communication

In Sensing the Past, Smith argues that "great divide" theory as posited by McLuhan and Ong is untenable. He doesn't disagree that visuality is important in modern culture, but in his view a binary (orality/aurality > literacy/visuality) model overlooks that senses other than sight remain important in literate cultures, that sight was also important in pre-modern (oral) cultures, and that the relative value of senses varies with culture, gender, class, etc. Smith supports his position with a historical overview of the senses. It's a broad survey, but at times feels more like a list of examples than a fully-fledged argument.
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Reading Progress

January 7, 2011 – Shelved
January 16, 2011 – Started Reading
January 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

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