Student Question

What is the definition of sensuousness?

Expert Answers

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Definitions are hard to ascertain, because meaning is contextually determined. For example, if you use the word "bar," then the meaning could change drastically.

(1) It could mean a thin metal object.

(2) A place where you get drinks.

(3) An exam, if you are a lawyer.

So, when it comes to the word, sensuousness, it could mean a lot of things. Yes, it will most likely deal with the senses, but context will be important.

Also one must keep in mind that words also have connotations, that is, associations based upon social context.

In short, I think the word has more of a connotation of pertaining to the senses in an aesthetic sense - art, music, a person's beauty.

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The word sensuous refers to anything which affects the senses. That is sight,hearing,scent,touch and taste. In literature, we usually appreciate vivid imaginative writing that can evoke memories, experiences and sensations either from our past, present or a world we have no experience of yet. Poets, novelists, writers and dramatists can take us there. sensuousness relates to how well, how richly, they achieve this in words - a bit like painting in the imagination, but with words instead of paint. Some examples of sensuousness in poetry can be found in Keats (St Agnes Eve) where imagery paints strong rich ideas. Some very sensuous writing can be found in Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence, where one of the main female characters is accused of being too sensuous and spiritual - for example in the way she seems to 'drink in' the scent of flowers.

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