Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

The Smell of Ideas (Quote of the Week)


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“[…] but prejudices, like odorous bodies, have a double existence both solid and subtle–solid as the pyramids, subtle as the twentieth echo of an echo, or as the memory of hyacinths which once scented the darkness.”

– George Eliot, Middlemarch  (1874)

 The smell of my own hyacinths in bloom reminded me of this fragrant social observation from George Eliot. It is notoriously difficult to translate smells accurately or objectively into words. Yet in spite of our blunt lexical tools (or maybe because of them?), the evocation of aroma gives body to abstractions, making ideas seem almost tangible.

George Eliot by Samuel Laurence
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5 thoughts on “The Smell of Ideas (Quote of the Week)

  1. Love that book, love that quote – thanks for posting it!

  2. Me, too! I love the book, love the quote.
    This is a post from pre-Wordpress move. I was tinkering with the category the tags and categories were all lost or garbled in transit) and hoping it would not be too annoying to have it re-appear with new posts . I”m glad that on the contrary you enjoyed it and that it brought back a good reading memory.

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