BBC Radio 4’s, Remembrance of Smells Past (2010), guides us through presenter Ian Peacocks personal experience of the scientific experiments carried out to test the transitional, and inevitably nostalgic, and uncanny affects of smells. He asks questions as to whether we can use it as a tool to consciously influence and even manipulate our emotional states.
He continues to use writer Marcel Proust’s example of a sudden provoked memory produced from a Madaline cake, in his book Remembrance of Things Past. (1913-1927)
“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palette, than a shudder ran through my whole body and I stopped intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses with no suggestion of it’s origin. Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was of a little piece of Madeline, which on Sunday mornings my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea. Immediately the old grey house on the street where her room was, rose up like a stage set, and the entire town, with it’s people and houses, gardens, church and surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being from my cup of tea.” (Proust, 1913)