Studying History, With Feeling

Studies of History, With Feeling 1

Erich Lessing, Art Resource

Jesus touches a blind man's eye in a mosaic in the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

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Erich Lessing, Art Resource

Jesus touches a blind man's eye in a mosaic in the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

Given how much of human experience involves touch and feel, it's odd that those senses have been overlooked by most historians. As Constance Classen writes in The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch, published last month by the University of Illinois Press, touch "remains unspoken and, even more so, unhistoricized."

Her book, the second in the press's Studies in Sensory History series, explores how touch has shaped life and events from the Middle Ages through