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Living by InchesThe Smells, Sounds, Tastes, and Feeling of Captivity in Civil War Prisons$
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Evan A. Kutzler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653785

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653785.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021



Sensing through Time

(p.129) Epilogue
Living by Inches

Evan A. Kutzler

University of North Carolina Press

This final section explores the prospects and limitations of sensory history as a method for assessing the past. The importance of the senses to individual prisoners did not end in 1865 and memoirs were an important continuation of prison experience. That individual sensory experiences change over time reflects the process of historical memory—a continual construction and reconstruction of the past. The centrality of context to perception makes sensory history an exceptional way to historicize experience; however, this also limits the reconstruction of past sensory experiences. MacKinlay Kantor's novel about a Civil War prison written in the 1950s, for example, says more about the sensory worlds of the twentieth century than the nineteenth century. The importance of sensory history as a methodology is that the senses are subjective and radically contingent on time and place.

Keywords:   memoirs, historical memory, perception, methodology, sensory history, contingency

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