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The Fall of Public Man Paperback – 30 Jan 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (30 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141007575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141007571
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


One of the most stimulating and challenging books to be written in years. . . . A major attempt . . . to re-examine the assumptions and objectives of the 1960s and transcend them without compromising their ideals. One admires the breadth of Professor Sennett's erudition, the reach of his historical imagination. . . . By all means buy this book and read it. --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

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.

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I have only recently become a reader of Sennett's work (see The Corrosion of Character: Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism or Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation as further examples of his work that I have read recently, been impressed with, and has led me to seek out this book, which I seem to recall was recommended to me when I was doing my Masters nearly 20 years ago). In this book, from the 1970's, Sennett discusses the ways in which the presentation of self in the public domain has come to focus on personality, an insincere construct that so distorts feeling and emotional display that genuine expression seems no longer possible. To present his case, he reaches back into the French Enlightenment, particularly its theatrical tradition, to examine the erosion of a distinction between public and private, into the faux emotions of public figures that mislead us into notions of trust. This was an idea that must have been rather lively at the time the book was written, given Nixon's recent perfidious manipulation of public trust, and Carter's appeal as the righteousness mender of social and political wrongdoing as his sole qualification to the Presidency.Read more ›
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13 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Petter William Hansen on 27 April 2002
Format: Paperback
An exiting book about our lives we live, compared against earlier centuries. A book full of facts and interesting comments, and a subjective view at our way of living and loving. A must read for a sociologist, and a good book to have read.
Slightly diffucult reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
An intellectual Celebration Ranging from History toSociology 14 April 2000
By Serpil Tunçer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sennett scrutinizes those problems caused by the inbalance between personal and public life.According to Sennett, the 'public life' which is a significant piece of life besides the family and friendships was once so lively and meant much to individuals.There used to be a 'publicity' that contributed to the individuals' skills of 'play'through emotinal ties with strangers and to the civilization of the individual.Being a 'public man' well expressed in the 18th century European cities has become a gradually weakened phenomenon being replaced with the 'private life'.And has become as significant as the private life allows it to...Sennett asks,"How has the stranger been transformed into a threatening factor? How is it that today, keeping silent and remaining as the audience is the only way of joining the public life? In turn, how do these factors foster personality deficiencies? Solitude that is a result of modernism renders the individual a person captured by the private life.Sennett explains this process through works of Balzac and Diderot, theater, music, architecture,Dreyfus case and Richard Nixon. Richard Sennett is by no means hopeless; he is exploring the possibilites of getting to know 'the other' instead of imagining a 'lost public paradise'.
25 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The end of the public realm 3 Jan 2000
By Jorge Martins Rosa - Published on
Format: Paperback
Beyond Habermas' description of the changes that have taken place in the Western public sphere, with a better emphasis on empirical and historical data, the book gives a detailed account on the rise and fall of our interacting abilities. From the marketplace to the theater, the 19th century (and then the 20th) saw the decline of «play», along with its replacement by vicarious figures, like the «genius», the performing arts «vedettes» and now the politician as someone who feels (and does) what we are not anymore able to feel. Instead of hysteria, the civilizational disease is now narcissism, the unableness to act regardless of one's inner feelings. To be read along with Sennett's other masterpiece, a romance entitled «Palais-Royal».
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