Que peuvent nous enseigner une collection de témoignages littéraires d’ambiances urbaines ?

Marc Crunelle

Keywords: sons, odeurs, villes d’Europe, littérature de voyage

What can we learn from a collection of more than one hundred and fifty quotes on sounds and smells of cities? 1. The astonishment of certain practices of the past; 2. it brings old paintings, engravings of cities back to life, in a very vivid manner; 3. it also shows that these accounts come closer to the contemporary world, because; 4. in all these descriptions, the only real instrument of measurement is Man and because our sensory "instruments" have not changed in 5000 years, so that these texts speak so obviously to us; 5. if we have drawings that are 15,000 years of age and sculptures that are much older, these quotes are the only acoustic experience prior to our modern methods of recording; 6. we can build sonic and olfactive maps of old cities.