The house of Sennett

The NYT has a feature on Richard Sennett’s house. I didn’t know he was married to Saskia Sassen.

“I am nomadic,” admitted Ms. Sassen, who was born in the Netherlands, grew up in Argentina and Italy and speaks six languages fluently. “I make myself at home wherever I go.” For her, “home” means one thing: “a place where I can work.”

“When I go to giant conferences,” she said, “I go to the press room. All I need is coffee, a computer table and people who will just leave you alone. My work is my anchor. It is how I keep the rhythm of my daily life.”

Mr. Sennett, meanwhile, prefers to write at a neat, trim desk tucked into one corner of the house’s grandest space, a double-height living room on the second floor that is illuminated by casement windows and a skylight as wide as the room.

“I’ve spent a lot of my life in this room,” Mr. Sennett said. “I’ve written all my books here, and I’ve had the experience for a long time of this light. And the silence, which is so rare.”

Must be nice. You gotta wonder about such people in today’s society. It’s like finding the mythical chimera or sphinx–creatures only heard about in legend. People so rich they can live in three global cities (her term, yes) and have 1,200 square feet of under market price real estate in places like Manhattan and London.

They met over Foucault:

Ms. Sassen met Mr. Sennett when she became a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities, which he had founded. She was impressed when she heard him give a talk with Michel Foucault and later was invited to dinner at Mr. Sennett’s house, where she had a delightful time talking — in Spanish — to Jorge Luis Borges, another guest. Mr. Sennett, meanwhile, served a magnificent meal. Preparing food, Mr. Sennett said, “is something I love.”

This would be, I presume, the James Lecture on 20 November 1980 (DE 295) which is included in Jeremy Carrette’s book (it first appeared in the London Review of Books and a slightly different version in Marshall Blonsky’s On signs).


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