All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity

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All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity is a book by Marshall Berman written in 1982. The work delves into the complexities and contradictions of modernity, tracing its history and exploring its impact on various aspects of life, society, and culture.


In "All That Is Solid Melts into Air," Berman analyzes the process of modernization and the feelings of exhilaration and dread that it brings. Drawing from various sources, including literature, philosophy, and the arts, Berman paints a vivid picture of how modernity shapes human experience.[1]

The title is derived from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' The Communist Manifesto, wherein they write about the constantly changing nature of modern, capitalist societies. Berman delves deep into this theme, emphasizing that at the heart of modernity is the continuous process of self-transformation, where everything is perpetually being made and remade, and all that was solid vanishes.


Throughout the work, Berman ties together the experiences of individuals with the wider socio-economic and political structures. He presents modernity not merely as an abstract force but as an experience deeply intertwined with our daily lives, identities, dreams, and nightmares.

Berman's take on modernity is double-edged: while it brings about innovation, freedom, and growth, it can also cause displacement, alienation, and destruction. His focus on the works of Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, and Marx, among others, illustrates the multi-faceted nature of modernity.


Since its publication, "All That Is Solid Melts into Air" has been recognized as a seminal work in the fields of sociology, urban studies, and philosophy. Critics have lauded Berman's passionate and insightful exploration of the modern experience.


  1. Berman, Marshall. All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. Simon & Schuster, 1982.

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External Links

Book link for personal use