Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization
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This vivid history of the city in Western civilization tells the story of urban life through bodily experience.
Flesh and Stone is the story of the deepest parts of life―how women and men moved in public and private spaces, what they saw and heard, the smells that assailed them, where they ate, how they dressed, the mores of bathing and of making love―all in the architecture of stone and space from ancient Athens to modern New York.
Early in Flesh and Stone, Richard Sennett probes the ways in which the ancient Athenians experienced nakedness, and the relation of nakedness to the shape of the ancient city, its troubled politics, and the inequalities between men and women. The story then moves to Rome in the time of the Emperor Hadrian, exploring Roman beliefs in the geometrical perfection of the body.
The second part of the book examines how Christian beliefs about the body related to the Christian city―the Venetian ghetto, cloisters, and markets in Paris. The final part of Flesh and Stone deals with what happened to urban space as modern scientific understanding of the body cut free from pagan and Christian beliefs. Flesh and Stone makes sense of our constantly evolving urban living spaces, helping us to build a common home for the increased diversity of bodies that make up the modern city.
Press, 1951), 183 . 16. Evelyn B. Harrison, "Athena and Athens in the East Pediment of the Parthenon" ( 1967), in The Parthenon, ed. Vincent]. Bruno (New York: Norton, 1974), 226. 17. Philipp Fehl, "Gods and Men in rhe Parthenon Frieze" (1961), in The Parthenon. 321. 18. John Boardman, "Greek Art and Architecture," in The Oxford History of the Classical World, eds. John Boardman, Jasper Griffin, Oswyn Murray (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 291. 19. See Clark, The Nude, 3, 23-24. 20.
both Greek and Roman art sought to make public art tell stories, in contrast to the Egyptian art they knew 6 But the Romans particularly liked to look at story images which emphasized the continuity of the city, the durability and unchanging core of her essence. Roman visual narratives repeat the same story over and over; they depict civic disasters or threatening events in such a way that these crises are resolved by the appearance of a great senator, general, or emperor. The Roman would look
the chapters and Cathedral, boars often sent from Saint-Germain and other abbeys which had their own gardens and storehouses. The Left Bank of the city remained in 1200 more agricultural than the Right Bank, an extensive vineyard surrounding Saint-Germain. By 1250, when)ehan de Chelles launched the final phase of constructing Notre-Dame, this religious enclave within the city contained conflicting interests. "The episcopal community was nor quite rationally divided," the historian Allan Temko
with precious scones, char some of our English Countesses do scarce exceede them, having marvailous long craines like Princesses char are borne up by waiting women serving for the same purpose. 13 Such a display of wealth would have been a gross provocation outside the Ghetto, activating all the Christian stereotypes abourJewish greed. In Renaissance Venice this would have been particularly an affront, as so much official energy was bent toward repressing sensual display by alien bodies, whether
the oppressor in making a community out of a space of oppression. But this communal life proved co be, at best, a shield rather chan a sword. 4 . THE MIRACULOUS LIGHTNESS OF FREEDOM The Merchant of Venice marks a sharp contrast co Christopher Marlowe's play The jew of Malta (1633). Marlowe forms Barabas, the Maltese Jew, into a figure of fun , made merely contemptible because of his greed. Shylock is a more complex human being, for his greed is intermixed with justified rage. Perhaps the