No past revolution, she says, can be attributed to professional revolutionaries. Usually it was the other way around: “revolution broke out and liberated, as it were, the professional revolutionaries from wherever they happened to be – from jail, or from the coffee house, or from the library.”
Five great amateurs whose work changed the world, from author of The Amateur, Andy Merrifield.
In this excerpt from The Amateur: The Pleasures of Doing What You Love, author Andy Merrifield explores how he likes to live in a city through the poetry of the Beats and the joys of what amateur urbanist Jane Jacobs called ‘the intricate sidewalk ballet’.
Marshall Berman, urban theorist and Marxist cultural critic, was known for his lyrical defence of modernism, his love affair with Times Square, his writing on everything from gentrification to 60s counter-culture, and his groundbreaking work on modernity, All That Is Solid Melts into Air.
Completed just before his death in 2013, Modernism in the Streets: A Life and Times in Essays, is Berman’s intellectual autobiography; including early essays on the radical ’60s, New York City, literary figures from Kafka to Pamuk, and lateR essays on rock, hip hop, and gentrification. This book, along with all our books by Marshall Berman, are 40% off until April 29.
This essay was delivered as a talk at “Modernism in the Streets: Theory, Practice, and the Marshall Berman Archives”, on March 28, at Columbia University.
I will began by talking about Marshall as a political theorist, but my real subject is how he became something else—and, I am inclined to think, something better.
This piece originally appeared in Jacobin. Modernism in the Streets and all available books by Marshall Berman are 40% off until Saturday April 29th at midnight UTC. Click here to activate your 40% discount.
In the early 1990s, when I first met Marshall Berman, he told me he was working on a book called Living for the City — “after the Stevie Wonder song.”
Marshall Berman was one of the great urbanists and Marxist cultural critics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and his ground-breaking book All That Is Solid Melts Into Air is a masterpiece of the literature on modernism.
Completed just before his death in 2013, Modernism in the Streets: A Life and Times in Essays, is Berman’s intellectual autobiography; including early essays on the radical ’60s, New York City, literary figures from Kafka to Pamuk, and later essays on rock, hip hop, and gentrification.
To celebrate the publication of this brilliant new book, compiled posthumously by Dissent and Nation editor David Marcus and Berman's widow, Shellie Sclan, we have 40% off all Berman's books until April 29 (midnight UTC). Click here to access the discount!