By Marshall Berman
"A effervescent caldron of rules . . . Enlightening and valuable." —Mervyn Jones, New Statesman.
The political and social revolutions of the 19th century, the pivotal writings of Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, and others, and the production of latest environments to interchange the old—all have thrust us right into a glossy international of contradictions and ambiguities. during this attention-grabbing publication, Marshall Berman examines the conflict of periods, histories, and cultures, and ponders our clients for coming to phrases with the connection among a freeing social and philosophical idealism and a fancy, bureaucratic materialism.
From a reinterpretation of Karl Marx to an incisive attention of the impression of Robert Moses on smooth city residing, Berman charts the development of the twentieth-century adventure. He concludes that version to continuous flux is attainable and that therein lies our desire for reaching a very glossy society.
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Additional resources for All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity
The next logical step would seem to be . . to bypass languages in favor of a gen eral cosmic consciousness . . • This modernism underlay the models of modernization which postwar American social scientists, often working under lavish government and foundation subsidies, developed for export to the Third World. '" Introduction 27 The futurists might deplore the low intensity of this prose, but they would surely be delighted with the vision of the factory as an exemplary human being which men and women should take as a model for their lives.
But its problem, and the problem of all modernisms in the futurist tradition, is that, with brilliant ma chines and mechanical systems playing all the leading roles-just as the factory is the subject in the quotation above-there is pre cious little for modern man to do except to plug in. " to modern life, we find a surprisingly similar vision of what that life is like. " This inexorable order, capitalistic, legalistic and bureaucratic, "determines the lives of all individuals who are born into this mechanism .
Open visions of modern life have been supplanted by closed ones, Both/And by Either/Or. The basic polarizations take place at the very start of our cen tury. "6 There are no ambiguities here: "tradition"-all the world's traditions thrown together-simply equals docile slavery, and modernity equals free dom; there are no loose ends. "Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers, and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly! Come on! set fire to the library shelves! Turn aside the canals to ftood the museums!
All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity by Marshall Berman