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

By Marshall Berman

"A effervescent caldron of principles . . . 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 recent environments to exchange the old—all have thrust us right into a glossy international of contradictions and ambiguities. during this interesting e-book, Marshall Berman examines the conflict of sessions, 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 influence of Robert Moses on smooth city residing, Berman charts the development of the twentieth-century adventure. He concludes that edition to continuous flux is attainable and that therein lies our desire for attaining a very sleek society.

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Modern machines have changed a great deal in the years between the nineteenth-century modernists and ourselves; but modern men and women, as Marx and Nietzsche and Baudelaire and Dos­ toevsky saw them then, may only now be coming fully into their own. Marx, Nietzsche and their contemporaries experienced moder­ nity as a whole at a moment when only a small part of the world was truly modern. A century later, when the processes of modern­ ization have cast a net that no one, not even in the remotest corner of the world, can escape, we can learn a great deal from the first modernists, not so much about their age as about our own.

Goethe's Faust is the first, and still the best, tragedy of development. The Faust story can be traced through three metamorphoses: he first emerges as The Dreamer, then, through Mephisto's media­ tion, transforms himself into The Lover, and finally, long after the The Tragedy of Development 41 tragedy of love is over, he will reach his life's climax as The Devel­ oper. First Metamorp hosis : The Dreamer As THE curtain rises,6 we find Faust alone in his room, late at night, feeling trapped. "Ach!

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.

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