Alain Corbin (born January 12, 1936, Lonlay-l'Abbaye) is a French historian, specialist of the 19th century in France.
Trained in the Annales School, Corbin's work has moved away from the large-scale collective structures studied by Fernand Braudel towards a history of sensibilities which is closer to Lucien Febvre's history of mentalités. His books have explored the histories of such subjects as male desire and prostitution, sensory experience of smell and sound, and the 1870 burning of a young nobleman in a Dordogne village.
Les filles de noce: Misère sexuelle et prostitution au XIXe siècle, 1978
Translation: Women for Hire: Prostitution and Sexuality in France after 1850, (published 1996),
Le miasme et la jonquille: L'odorat et l'imaginaire social, XVIIIe-XIXe siècles
Translation: The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination (published 1988),
Le territoire du vide: L'occident et le désir du rivage (1750-1840) ,
Le cloches de la terre: Paysage sonore et culture sensible dans les campagnes au XIXe siècle
Translation: Sound and Meaning in the Village Bells, (published 1998),
Le monde retrouvé de Louis-François Pinagot: Sure les traces d'un inconnu (1798-1876)
Translation: The Life of an Unknown, (published 2001),
For a general overview on his work, see S. Godfrey "Alain Corbin : Making Sense of French History », French Historical Studies, vol. 25, n° 2, 2002, p. 381-398,
See also Dominique kalifa, "L'expérience, le désir et l'histoire. Alain Corbin ou le tournant culturel silencieux", in "Alain Corbin and the writing of History", French Politics, Culture & Society, vol. 22, n° 2, 2004, p. 14-25.
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