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visual experiences. Sight is our most intellectual sense, and we trust
ourselves to it with comparative boldness without any undue dread that its
messages will hurt us by their personal intimacy; we even court its
experiences, for it is the chief organ of our curiosity, as smell is of a
dog's. But smell with us has ceased to be a leading channel of
intellectual curiosity. Personal odors do not, as vision does, give us
information that is very largely intellectual; they make an appeal that is
mainly of an intimate, emotional, imaginative character. They thus tend,
when we are in our normal condition, to arouse what James calls the
"I cannot understand how people do not see how the senses are
connected," said Jenny Lind to J.A. Symonds (Horatio Brown, _J.A.
Symonds_, vol. i, p. 207). "What I have suffered from my sense of
smell! My youth was misery from my acuteness of sensibility."
Mantegazza discusses the strength of olfactory antipathies
(_Fisiologia dell' Odio_, p. 101), and mentions that once when
ill in Paraguay he was nursed by an Indian girl of 16, who was
fresh as a peach and extremely clean, but whose odor--"a mixture
of wild beast's lair and decayed onions"--caused nausea and
almost made him faint.
Moll (_Untersuchungen ueber die Libido Sexualis_, bd. i, p. 135)
records the case of a neuropathic man who was constantly rendered
impotent by his antipathy to personal body odors. It had very
frequently happened to him to be attracted by the face and
appearance of a girl, but at the last moment potency was
inhibited by the perception of personal odor.
In the case of a man of distinguished ability known to me,
belonging to a somewhat neuropathic family, there is extreme
sensitiveness to the smell of a woman, which is frequently the
most obvious thing to him about her. He has seldom known a woman
whose natural perfume entirely suits him, and his olfactory
impressions have frequently been the immediate cause of a rupture
It was formerly discussed whether strong personal odor
constituted adequate ground for divorce. Hagen, who brings
forward references on this point (_Sexuelle Osphresiologie_, pp.
75-83), considers that the body odors are normally and naturally
repulsive because they are closely associated with the capryl
group of odors, which are those of many of the excretions.
Olfactory antipathies are, however, often strictly subordinated
to the individual's general emotional attitude toward the object
from which they emanate. This is illustrated in the case, known
to me, of a man who on a hot day entering a steamboat with a
woman to whom he was attached seated himself between her and a
man, a stranger. He soon became conscious of an axillary odor
which he concluded to come from the man and which he felt as
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