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All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (Anglais) Broché – 7 juin 1988


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"A bubbling caldron of ideas . . . Enlightening and valuable." —Mervyn Jones, New Statesman.

The political and social revolutions of the nineteenth century, the pivotal writings of Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, and others, and the creation of new environments to replace the old—all have thrust us into a modern world of contradictions and ambiguities. In this fascinating book, Marshall Berman examines the clash of classes, histories, and cultures, and ponders our prospects for coming to terms with the relationship between a liberating social and philosophical idealism and a complex, bureaucratic materialism.

From a reinterpretation of Karl Marx to an incisive consideration of the impact of Robert Moses on modern urban living, Berman charts the progress of the twentieth-century experience. He concludes that adaptation to continual flux is possible and that therein lies our hope for achieving a truly modern society.



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Première phrase
FOR AS long as there has been a modern culture, the figure of Faust has been one of its culture heroes. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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104 internautes sur 111 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
whither the modern? 13 janvier 2000
Par karl b. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Goethe and Marx, these are cardinal figures in the history of modernity. Goethe, the spiritual father of its grand visions and inexhaustible hope. Marx, the outsider, the witness to the sorcery of its soul and that of its organizing principle, Capital. His charge-- it is an artifice of progressively concentrating energy that will not be bound by any responsibility or shared purpose. The practical result is a constant breakdown of community and institutions as they are offered to the flame of re-invention. This is the core of the book's message. Nothing is permanent in the modernist domain. Art, city, ideals, country-- all are subsumed into new solids that immediately fracture and evaporate under pressure of another oncoming order, crashing in with waves of reorganization. The technologies of its own genius are its tools. The post-structural epoch is merely another phase of modernism's relentless push to incinerate the old and recreate society in its own frenzied image. Iconoclasm becomes the coordinating edict. The erasure of all cultural memory is implicit; moral purpose is desanctified; Capital's own ethos is elevated to the realm of faith.
Berman moves from the literary and intellectual movements of France and Russia into the streets. The building of St. Petersburg, with its imposed occidental face on Russia's traditionally oriental sensibilities, the boulevards of Paris's reconstruction of the 1870's, and the highways of the irrepressible Robert Moses-- the urban landscape has chronicled modernism's advance. The breadth of this thesis in choosing such disparate symbols to exemplify the progression is impressive, as is Berman's ability to synthesize them. When the book was written twenty years ago Communism had not yet collapsed, but its moral failure was evident, its material demise imminent. Berman's more romantic notions of a merging of modernism and Marxism, harnessing the creative impulse to popularly reasoned objectives, might have passed from any realistic possibility. His relationship with both is clearly one of fascination and alienation. All that seems to have gone down in flames, in annihilating contradictions, and, in the infinite actualization of modernism's belief in itself. It will tolerate no governance. A persistent anti- modernist insurgency, fragmented and cleaved onto disparate political structures, provides a cowed conscience at best. But with its illimitable dominion seemingly secure, Berman's proposal is thought provoking indeed-- that all of Marx's characterizations of its nature are true, and that no sustainable alternative has yet been conceived.
30 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Classic, enjoyable read on modernity 23 septembre 2006
Par S. Lichtman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I first bought this book on a whim during my political science college days, but found great enjoyment and lasting insights. It's been a regular re-read on my shelf for the last 15 years. Most of all, the book unveils the themes of innovation, turmoil and renewal that are the hallmark of the last few hundred years. I came to realize, reading Berman's reviews of Marx', Goethe's and others writing that we have become so embedded in constantly changing times that we have accepted all its characteristics without question. I now think much more carefully about what precepts of being 'busy', acquiring luxury items, altering my personality for business/social situations, etc are worthwhile. ...OK, this sounds too deep for many but the book is written with inspiration, is enjoyable and gives people something important to think about.
29 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
One of the best I've read 10 septembre 2004
Par Edward Tsai - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I read this book a long time ago in college for a lit crit class. While admittedly I don't recall much detail of it, I do remember that it was one of few books I read in that class and many other lit crit classes that was lucid, cogent and clear in its argument and analysis. As a testament to its merit, it has remained on my bookshelf after all the others have been sold off to used bookstores. Moreover, it gave me one of the key insights about modernity that have remained with me to this day, and which has been useful in understanding why certain anti-modern societies resist modernization and why our contemporary society is so schizophrenic. That insight is that no tradition, which inherently protects realms of privilege, can be maintained in the face of the onslaught of the profit-driven motive underlying capitalism, which will always seek out new markets to exploit, such as the unexploited market as protected by tradition.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Astonished 15 mars 2006
Par Ari Ylönen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I have known the book by reputation in several texts of urban sociology. The book, however, is much more than most writers have implied. The profound knowledge of Berman about European cultural history is admirable and helpful for getting a deeper understanding of the development of ideas of modern.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Read after Background Reading or Familiarity 17 février 2011
Par David C. Scheltema - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Read the book if you want a broad approach to modernism. One should enter the first pages of this book with some understanding of a dialectical approach, though they need not be read in Hegel. Most importantly one should have read Marx --Tucker has a good companion that will suffice as a primer. Some familiarity of the Faust stories --preferably with main understanding regarding the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe work, though Berman is not exclusive however he does work the reader through alternative instantiations. Baudelaire may prove the most inaccessible chapter for most --be aware that the focus here is not on Flowers of Evil, but on some of the essay works.

This is a short book that may be difficult for some who are not well read. It is worth the time to do some pre-reading to fill in the book and enable the reader to engage Berman's claims, rather than read and nod at his assertions.
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