Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 2(2), pp. 52 - 57
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020202
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Smelly Encounters: An Olfactory Reading of Indian English Fiction by Women

Asha Choubey *
MJP Rohilkhand University


George Orwell once described smell as the real secret of gender relations in the West: ‘The female sex smells.’ Gender connotation is writ large in almost every sociological/anthropological study of smell. Literature is also full of such references where women’s sense of smell has been considered stronger than that of men’s. Gaze being the masculine sense greater weightage has been given to it while smell has been deprecated as the feminine sense. Since smell has a deep cultural significance the literature of the Indian diaspora by women is replete with what may be termed ‘olfactory analysis.’ The smell of nostalgia, of memory and the past; the aroma of native food and all the native fragrances keep haunting; bringing much comfort to the aching heart. While Jhumpa Lahiri’s characters are particularly nostalgic about the native food finding refuge in the gustatory, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni dedicated the space of one novel to spices where her protagonist is the ‘Mistress of Spices’ herself; Radhika Jha’s Smell reminds one of Patrick Suskind's Perfume. Replete with ‘olfactory encounters’, to borrow Janice Carlisle’s expression, the novel is a buildungsroman of Leela Patel, the protagonist whose very being is apparently governed by her nose. I propose to read the olfactory representations in the novels of these women writers with a view to exploring the social, cultural and moral connotations of the olfactory/gustatory.

Olfactory, Gustatory, Indian English Fiction, Women Writing

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Asha Choubey , "Smelly Encounters: An Olfactory Reading of Indian English Fiction by Women," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 52 - 57, 2014. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020202.

(b). APA Format:
Asha Choubey (2014). Smelly Encounters: An Olfactory Reading of Indian English Fiction by Women. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 2(2), 52 - 57. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2014.020202.