All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of by Marshall Berman

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 construction of recent environments to interchange the old—all have thrust us right into a sleek global of contradictions and ambiguities. during this interesting ebook, Marshall Berman examines the conflict of sessions, histories, and cultures, and ponders our customers for coming to phrases with the connection among a freeing social and philosophical idealism and a posh, bureaucratic materialism.
From a reinterpretation of Karl Marx to an incisive attention of the impression of Robert Moses on glossy city dwelling, Berman charts the growth of the twentieth-century event. He concludes that variation to continuous flux is attainable and that therein lies our wish for reaching a really glossy society.

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W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin-dialectical vision and depth are always entangled, often in the same sentence, with monolithic cultural despair. Introduction 29 administered," programmed to produce exactly those desires that the social system can satisfy, and no more. " 1 2 Now this is a familiar twentieth-century refrain, shared by those who love the modern world and those who hate it: modernity is constituted by its machines, of which modern men and women are merely mechanical reproductions. But it is a travesty of the nine­ teenth-century modern tradition in whose orbit Marcuse claimed to move, the critical tradition of Hegel and Marx.

JOHNSON: To merely, to enjoy things as they are-we see entirely differ­ ent beauty from what [Lewis] Mumford could possibly see. SONTAG: Welf, I think, I see for myself that I just now see things in a kind of split-level way, both morally and . . Introduction 33 All the modernisms and anti-modernisms of the 1 960s, then, were seriously flawed. But their sheer plenitude, along with their intensity and liveliness of expression, generated a common lan­ guage, a vibrant ambience, a shared horizon of experience and desire.

Even as we watch," he tells two bound and help­ less victims, "those canisters containing my ingenious mind-gas are being affixed to special hookups within the dirigible's exhaust sys­ tem. " This means trouble: the last time Dr. Faustus passed through, he confused the minds of all Americans, leading them to paranoiacally suspect · and denounce their neighbors, and gener­ ating McCarthyism. Who knows what he will be up to now? A reluctant Captain America comes out of retirement to confront this enemy.

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