"Perfume" by Patrick S

Essay by menadochka December 2006

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A Story of a Murderer - a Story of France

In this very essay I am going to reflect on the vivid description of historical and cutlural contents in the novel "Perfume" - the recognised masterpiece of the modern literature written by Patrick Süskind in 1984.

Before focusing on the novel itself, let us look back into France, the place of the novel's events, into the XVIII century, and outline its atmosphere. At that time this country, together with the most of Europe, was coming through the Age of Enlightenment - a period of intellectual movement that proclaimed rationality and reason as a new means of thinking and building social life. A big step forward was done by science, which got rid of the mystical element and let medicine, chemistry, physics, economics and other branches of knowledge develop.

Significant changes in economics were taking place as well. The form of production was turning from shops into capitalistic industrial enterprises; overseas trade arose.

The leading role in economics started to belong to merchant manufacturers who posessed raw materials. There were also national enterprises - royal manufactures.

In cultural respect, the synonym of the French Enlightenment is stronly associated with the name of Voltaire - dramatist, publicist, historian and philosopher. Such vivid personalities of that time like philosopher and writer D. Didreau, thinkers J.J. Rousseau and Montesquieu, satirist Bomarché, D'Alembert, Robespierre and others should also be menioned.

Owing in many respects to all them, the power of mind embraces the society and criticism of church obscurantism arouses. It becomes important to exchange philosophical, scientific and aesthetic ideas between countries. The French language turns into international language of educated people. Together with this, the social class of intelligence is being formed.

And now let us get familiar with the details of this...