“Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”
Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)
There was no better guide to the lyrical power and vivid imaginary of Marx’s writing on transformative social change and the emancipatory promise of the moment than the recently deceased Marshall Berman of CUNY. Marx of the Enlightenment, Marx of the Romantic critique of Enlightenment, Berman finds all that combined in Marx of Modernity.
All That Is Solid Melts into Air is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest books on modernity. A kaleidoscopic journey into the experience of modernization, it captures the dizzying social changes that swept up and transformed the lives of millions of people. Berman delves into the aesthetic and intellectual controversies of art, literature, and architecture: from the writing of Goethe, Marx and Dostoevsky to the Paris of Baudelaire and Haussmann, the Petersburg of the Tsarist builders and Pushkin, and the New York of devastated wastelands and creative artists.” [Jacket blurb Penguin edition]