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Modernism in the Streets

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Modernism in the Streets by Marshall Berman
  • Hardcover $29.95

    Apr 18, 2017 | 400 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    Apr 18, 2017

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“Marshall Berman was our Manhattan Socrates: not the arch dialectician but the philosopher in and of the street, not the aggressive asker of questions but the ambler in the boulevard, the man who seeks wisdom in the agora, in the conversation of Times Square, the walker in the city, the man who died among friends.”
—Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind

“Marshall resurrected the old medieval maxim Stadtluft macht frei: the air of the city makes us free. He found that freedom everywhere in the busy streets of Manhattan: in the clubs and cafes of Greenwich Village; in the gaudy lights of Times Square; in the Bronx where he grew up, which died and was reborn; in the graffiti scrawled on New York’s subway cars; and in the music of the city, from jazz to Broadway to rap.”
—Michael Walzer, Editor Emeritus of Dissent

“The departed bard of modernism … He believed dialogue to be an urgent need in modern times because our subjectivity and inwardness have intensified, a state he called both richer and more lonely.”
—Brooke Gladstone, cohost of NPR’s On the Media

“Captures both the violent dislocation wrought by political changes and the artistic outputs born out of suffering. Berman’s essays make the reader experience historical change as he did—as something urgent, frightening, but also wondrous. With that feeling comes a faint but undeniable hint of possibility.”
—Max Holleran, New Republic

“‘Sometimes,’ Berman once said, ‘it sounds as if culture were just one more Department of Exploitation and Oppression, containing nothing luminous or valuable in itself.’ He loved to emphasize the good news about modern life and did so with great lyricism and literary verve.”
—Andy Merrifield, author of The Amateur

“For Marshall, the bad things are always there. The contradictions are always there. The nub of his genius is how he breaks on through to the synthesis at the end of the tunnel.”
—Robert Christgau, author of Going Into the City

“There are other writers as intelligent as Marshall Berman, and as able to draw together disparate elements of cultural history into a dazzling new picture, but they seldom sustain the same sense of compassionate warmth toward those who make history.”
—Rebecca Solnit, author of Nonstop Metropolis

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