Alain Corbin  

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Alain Corbin (born 1936) is a French historian, specialist of the 19th century in France. He is the author of The Foul and the Fragrant (1982).


Trained in the Annales School, Corbin's work has moved away from the large-scale collective structures studied by Fernand Braudel towards a history of sensibilities which is closer to Lucien Febvre's history of mentalités. His books have explored the histories of such subjects as male desire and prostitution, sensory experience of smell and sound, and the 1870 burning of a young nobleman in a Dordogne village.


  • Les filles de noce: Misère sexuelle et prostitution au XIXe siècle, 1978

Translation: Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France after 1850, (published 1996)

  • Le territoire du vide: L'occident et le désir du rivage (1750-1840), 1978

Translation: The Lure of the Sea: The Discovery of the Seaside in the Western World, 1750-1840, (published 1994)

Translation: The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination), (published 1988)

  • Le village des "cannibales", 1986

Translation: The Village of Cannibals: Rage and Murder in France, 1870, (published 1993)

  • Le cloches de la terre: Paysage sonore et culture sensible dans les campagnes au XIXe siècle, 1994

Translation: Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the 19th-century French Countryside, (published 1998)

  • Le temps, le désir et l'horreur, 1995

Translation: Time, Desire, and Horror: Towards a History of the Senses, (published 1995)

  • Le monde retrouvé de Louis-François Pinagot: Sur les traces d'un inconnu (1798-1876), 1998

Translation: The Life of an Unknown: The Rediscovered World of a Clog Maker in Nineteenth-century France, (published 2001)

  • Histoire du silence: de la Renaissance à nos jours, 2018

Translation: A History of Silence: From the Renaissance to the Present Day, (published 2018)

  • Terra Incognita: Une histoire de l'ignorance, 2020

Translation: Terra Incognita: A History of Ignorance in the 18th and 19th Centuries, (published 2021)

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