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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 RichardSennett – 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 ...
6 November 1980
by Richard Sennett.
Secker, 206 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 436 44675 8
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... even a sociability which overrides the very distinction between public and private, is a condition, not merely of order, but of an expressive energy which makes order and freedom itself worth having? RichardSennett 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 ...

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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... young journalist writes about her decision to retrain. People look to their jobs for so much that’s not written into any contract: self-respect, stability, social standing. Work is ‘a road’, as RichardSennett 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 ...

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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... as Aretha Franklin sang and sang again, seems to go a long way. Few exchanges among people appear to cost those who offer it so little and benefit those who receive it so much. ‘Why, then,’ RichardSennett 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 ...

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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... other than Western hypocrisy led him to imagine a different geography of desire, rootless, unanchored, pastoral, with encounters taking place in an orange grove or in a tent pitched at will. In RichardSennett’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 ...

Sexuality and Solitude

Michel Foucault and Richard Sennett

21 May 1981
... RichardSennett A 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 ...

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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... for the new Galerie d’Orléans, but this enterprise was far to outdo it in innovative boldness and size. The architect the duke commissioned was Pierre-François Fontaine, and it is the premise of RichardSennett’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 ...


Frank Kermode: Being in New York

7 July 1983
... made over thirty years ago, are certainly not here, and may be lost. And anyway the satisfaction 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 ...

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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... it. On 18 October, precisely at the time when Theroux was eulogising South London on TV as a delightful urban safari park, I was robbed at knife point in Brixton. The frog who dared to croak is RichardSennett’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 ...

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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... long to mature. Venice can’t have looked nice for its first few centuries. The last of the social arguments against suburbia, and a fortiori against sprawl, is that it abets segregation. Cities, if RichardSennett 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 ...
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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... are the staple ingredients of 20th-century art. Prose and form naturally accommodate themselves to these responses – perhaps the price of that ‘authenticity’ which Lionel Trilling discussed and RichardSennett 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 ...

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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... in the last lines of the poem ‘The Exact Moment of His Death’.The troubling distinction of The Father as a book of elegies lies in its exploring of what has been called in another context (by RichardSennett 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 ...

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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... be a bad thing? Is it possible that the buildings themselves are complicitous, no longer offering the 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 ...

Best Beloved

Kevin Brownlow

18 April 1985
Chaplin: His Life and Art 
by David Robinson.
Collins, 792 pp., £15, March 1985, 9780002163873
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... It makes one ashamed to be a film historian. But film history has recently been given an injection of seriousness. It has been raised from the level of nostalgia and trivia by four new biographies: Richard Koszarski’s Erich von Stroheim, Roger Icart’s Abel Gance (in French – still searching for an English publisher), Richard Schickel’s D. W. Griffith and now David Robinson’s Chaplin. All have ...
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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... enthusiasm ... it was obvious that it had become the real right thing to catch this series. During the interval I stood in line for the men’s room with the philosopher Tom Nagel, the sociologist RichardSennett, 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 ...

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