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Sexuality and Solitude

Michel Foucault and Richard Sennett, 21 May 1981

... Richard SennettA few years ago, Michel Foucault and I discovered we were interested in the same problem, in very different periods of history. The problem is why sexuality has become so important to people as a definition of themselves. Sex is as basic as eating or sleeping, to be sure, but it is treated in modern society as something more ...

Heavenly Cities

Daniel Aaron, 10 October 1991

The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 266 pp., £17.50, June 1991, 0 571 16192 8
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... For the last thirty years Richard Sennett – urban sociologist, historian, novelist – has been meditating on the culture and ecology of industrial cities: on how they evolved, on how their physical organisation and social structure related to the psychological and moral experiences of their inhabitants. More pointedly than his previous books, The Conscience of the Eye, he says, aims to show the interactions between the ‘architectural, urban planning, public sculpture, and the visual scenes of the city’ and its ‘cultural life ...

Superficially Pally

Jenny Turner: Richard Sennett, 22 March 2012

Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-Operation 
by Richard Sennett.
Allen Lane, 323 pp., £25, February 2012, 978 0 7139 9874 0
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... not written into any contract: self-respect, stability, social standing. Work is ‘a road’, as Richard Sennett once wrote, ‘to the unification of the self’. Except that it doesn’t usually end up like that, which is the reason the next page of the Guardian has Jeremy Bullmore, a sage and doleful-looking ‘agony uncle’, fielding people’s ...

Participation in America

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 6 November 1980

by Richard Sennett.
Secker, 206 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 436 44675 8
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... merely of order, but of an expressive energy which makes order and freedom itself worth having? Richard Sennett believes that it is. As he has explained in what he has written about Chicago and about the bewildered self-contempt of blue-collar workers in Boston in the late 1960s, and as he has most elaborately argued in The Fall of Public Man, ...

Sock it to me

Elizabeth Spelman: Richard Sennett, 9 October 2003

Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality 
by Richard Sennett.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, January 2003, 9780713996173
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... to cost those who offer it so little and benefit those who receive it so much. ‘Why, then,’ Richard Sennett asks, ‘should it be in short supply?’ Though Sennett frequently defines such scarcity as a lack of ‘mutual respect’ – as if none of us, no matter who we are, gets enough of it – a good many of ...

Magic Zones

Marina Warner, 8 December 1994

Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilisation 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 413 pp., £25, October 1994, 9780571173907
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... pastoral, with encounters taking place in an orange grove or in a tent pitched at will. In Richard Sennett’s study of bodies and cities in Western culture, flesh and stone are similarly inimical to one another, as the hint of a wound in the title suggests; stones build enclosures, which imprison the flesh as well as give it shelter. But since ...

Possibility throbs

Richard Altick, 23 July 1987

by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 274 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 571 14718 6
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... size. The architect the duke commissioned was Pierre-François Fontaine, and it is the premise of Richard Sennett’s attractive novel that he chose for his assistant a young Englishman who was just finishing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Frederick Courtland was the son of an architect who had learned his profession under the comfortably ...

Dark Places

John Sutherland, 18 November 1982

Wise Virgin 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 186 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 436 57608 2
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The London Embassy 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 241 10872 1
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The frog who dared to croak 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 182 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11989 1
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Vintage Stuff 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.50, November 1982, 0 436 45810 1
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Rogue Justice 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7181 2178 3
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... urban safari park, I was robbed at knife point in Brixton. The frog who dared to croak is Richard Sennett’s first novel and umpteenth book. Like other philosophers (Russell, Wollheim, Scruton, Koestler), he evidently sees fiction as something he ought to chance his arm at, once at least. I’m no judge, but his social-philosophical writing ...


Frank Kermode: Being in New York, 7 July 1983

... is social, not scholarly. Not that these categories can confidently be thought distinct. When Richard Wollheim and I agreed to do a double act at a lunchtime university seminar we were surprised to find that a very large number of people had turned up with their sandwiches: but they hadn’t come just for the company, and there were plenty of acute ...

On the Disassembly Line

Katrina Forrester: Dirty Work, 7 July 2022

Work without the Worker: Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism 
by Phil Jones.
Verso, 134 pp., £10.99, October 2021, 978 1 83976 043 3
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Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America 
by Eyal Press.
Head of Zeus, 303 pp., £16.99, January, 978 1 80110 722 8
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... the carcasses. Both types of work exact a physical and psychic toll, what Jonathan Cobb and Richard Sennett call ‘the hidden injuries of class’. On the kill floors, most workers are ‘at-will’ employees and can be fired at any time. In 2019, the annual turnover in many Texan slaughterhouses was 100 per cent.The ethnographer Timothy Pachirat ...

For the Good of Our Health

Andrew Saint: The Spread of Suburbia, 6 April 2006

Sprawl: A Compact History 
by Robert Bruegmann.
Chicago, 301 pp., £17.50, January 2006, 0 226 07690 3
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... against suburbia, and a fortiori against sprawl, is that it abets segregation. Cities, if Richard Sennett is to be believed, are places where you are forced to learn tolerance and explore difference, whereas sealed in your car between home, mall and corporate campus you can hate away to your heart’s content. Bruegmann’s answer is that most ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... responses – perhaps the price of that ‘authenticity’ which Lionel Trilling discussed and Richard Sennett deplores. Even John Burrow, to whom Kenyon pays a handsome tribute, shows these influences. The prose of the much celebrated A Liberal Descent is not routinely ‘readable’. It is often intricate and elusive like G.M. Young’s. It explores ...

Space Wars

Fredric Jameson, 4 April 1996

The Invisible in Architecture 
edited by Ole Bouman and Roemer van Toorn.
Academy, 516 pp., $115, February 1994, 1 85490 285 7
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The Classical Vernacular: Architectural Principles in an Age of Nihilism 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 158 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 1 85754 054 9
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... grand head-on, Neoclassical façades for simple reproduction (see, for example, the magnificent Richard Pare collection, Photography and Architecture 1839-1939)? Photography would then be co-operating in the actual construction of the newer buildings, angling into dimensions of built space that our ordinary human bodies have little daily commerce ...

Tomb for Two

Adam Mars-Jones, 10 February 1994

The Father 
by Sharon Olds.
Secker, 88 pp., £6, February 1993, 0 436 33952 8
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The Sign of Saturn 
by Sharon Olds.
Secker, 92 pp., £8, March 1991, 0 436 20029 5
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... Father as a book of elegies lies in its exploring of what has been called in another context (by Richard Sennett in his book Authority) ‘bonds of rejection’: the way a person continues to be determined by forces or people who have consciously been thrown off. The structures underlying the emotions need not change just because the emotions now bear a ...

How to play the piano

Nicholas Spice, 26 March 1992

Music Sounded Out 
by Alfred Brendel.
Robson, 258 pp., £16.95, September 1990, 0 86051 666 0
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Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations 
by Otto Friedrich.
Lime Tree, 441 pp., £12.99, October 1990, 9780413452313
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... the interval I stood in line for the men’s room with the philosopher Tom Nagel, the sociologist Richard Sennett, the poet Fred Seidel and the conservative sage William Buckley. I suppose Brendel’s intellectual and technical mastery is about the only kind to which sensible people of almost every description want to pay tribute, even if to do so ...

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