In this short, thought-provoking publication, Smith reflects on how historians have written about the senses and how they might continue to do so in future. Smith admits that if it is an actual manifesto, it is a “modest” one; its three thirty-page chapters are really an invitation to adopt new ways of thinking and writing about the senses. The first chapter examines the twentieth-century origins of this historical approach; the second considers what has been written in the last couple of decades; and the final one most closely resembles a manifesto, identifying the field’s shortcomings. According to Smith, most of these failings require attention to ensure that sensory scholars do not become complacent, the better to convince others of the field’s importance.

Until now, historians have either approached the senses in a highly contextualized manner, or as decontextualized phenomena, capable of being reproduced in the present. Huizinga, a linguist, recognized...

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