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From Lavender Water to Kiss Me, You Dare!: Shifting Linguistic Norms in the Perfume Industry, 1700-1900

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This chapter is concerned with standardisation within the perfume industry. How and when did the names of perfumes change from registering their contents or place of manufacture to the narrative, fantasy titles prevalent today? Did mid-Victorian discoveries in chemical synthesis result in naming changes? Data is taken from electronically-searchable London and Paris newspaper corpora. The shift from Lavender Water to Kiss Me, You Dare! is found to have been the work of a small group of closely-networked London perfumers who all had French (and German) connections. The Great Exhibition of 1851 (and subsequent exhibitions) were the main catalysts in naming shifts, and novelty became increasingly important as a marketing device. Perfume names which evoked love and romance developed rather late in the period, with allusion to flirtation the innovation of one specific perfume house. Discoveries in chemical manufacture had no linguistic effect at all on the names used for marketing.



perfume, advertising, newspapers

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St. Jerome Publishing

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Academy of Finland (via University of Tampere) (258434)