Alain Corbin

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Alain Corbin (born January 12, 1936 in Lonlay-l'Abbaye)[1] is a French historian. He is a specialist of the 19th century in France and in microhistory.

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.[2] 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: Sur 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.


  1. ^ « Mon village natal se nomme Lonlay-l’Abbaye » Réforme "Les parfums de la mémoire"
  2. ^ Godfrey, Simon (2006), "Alain Corbin", The Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought, New York: Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-10790-7