Flesh And Stone: The Body And The City In Western Civilization

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9780141007595: Flesh And Stone: The Body And The City In Western Civilization

In FLESH AND STONE, Sennett examines the relationship between the human body and the urban environment it inhabits, looking at the differing attitudes to nudity, burial, sanctuary and urban planning in ancient Greece and Rome, Mediaeval and Renaissance Europe, and concluding with a fuller analysis of how the link between flesh and stone has altered with the advances in science and medicine. It is, as the author says in the introduction, "more than an historical catalogue of physical sensationsin urban space", offering fresh insights and ideas for anyone interested in the city or civic life.

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About the Author:

Richard Sennett now works at the LSE where he runs their Cities Programme. His previous publications include his best-seller THE CORROSION OF CHARACTER. His next book, RESPECT: THE FORMATION OF CHARACTER IN A WORLD OF INEQUALITY, will be publishedby Allen Lane in January 2003.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An expansive history of Western civilization's evolving conception of the human body and that concept's influence on the erection of cities. Sennett (Sociology/New York Univ.; The Conscience of the Eye, 1991, etc.) argues that the homogenization of contemporary culture is aided and abetted by the failure of modern architecture and urban planning to accommodate the physical and sensory needs of the human body. This is more than mere postmodern sterility to Sennett. He sees this failing as an extension of the ``enduring problem'' of Western civilization: the inability or refusal of those with the power to build cities to honor ``the dignity of the body and diversity of human bodies.'' From Pericles' Athens to Robert Moses's New York, Sennett incorporates discussions of sexuality, religion, politics, medicine, and economics into a historical grand tour of great cities whose buildings, streets, and public squares elevated the status of the ruling elite and diminished that of common citizens. Along the way, we find out how it felt to witness an execution by guillotine in revolutionary Paris, attend a Roman banquet, and observe a trial in ancient Greece, where courtrooms reflected the demands of a participatory democracy--three-foot-high walls and a jury box big enough for the minimum 201 jurors. Though Sennett ably surveys the ideological landscapes of the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds, these quotidian revelations are what enliven the book. By exposing the principles of individualism and personal comfort that form the most fundamental assumptions of 20th-century consumer culture, Sennett reminds modern readers that they trade a great deal for comfort--namely their engagement with one another. In so doing, he debunks the myth that the evolution of cities has been one of unfettered progress, or that progress is synonymous with improvement. Passionate, exhaustively researched, and original. (Photos and maps, not seen) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Sennett, Richard
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ISBN 10: 0141007591 ISBN 13: 9780141007595
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Sennett, Richard
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