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Emerging from the Ruins  

I’m going to focus on a distinctive landscape of ruins, an amazing, dreadful landscape that came to define the South Bronx, and for many people to define New York, for the last decades of the twentieth century. Those ruins were one of New York’s great negatives. I want to try to do what Hegel says: look the negative in the face.









Modernism in the Streets  

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy by Peter Gay W.W. Norton, 2007 640 pp $35 PETER GAY has had a remarkable career as a scholar. He has gone through many metamorphoses and left a great paper trail. Well into his eighties, …



Symposium 1968: Marshall Berman  

Charles Dickens, at the start of A Tale of Two Cities, his novel of the French Revolution, portrays 1789 as a magical year that crystallized “the best of times” and “the worst of times” within itself. Living through 1968 in …



New York Calling  

Spirit is a power only by looking the negative in the face and living with it. Living with it is the magic power that converts the negative into being. —Hegel, Preface to The Phenomenology of the Spirit, 1807 My city’s …







The Last Page  

Arthur Miller’s death this spring brought back his great moment half a century ago, when he defied the foul fiend. At his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearing in June 1956, he tried to explain himself; all they wanted was …



Marshall Berman Responds  

MY ARTICLE in the Summer 2004 Dissent was called “Israel: No Souvenirs.” But I was wrong: early one Saturday morning, early in the fall, I got a phone call from the great Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua, who wanted to let …



Israel: No Souvenirs  

I went to Israel to talk, and I talked a lot, but I did my best to listen, too. On my first day, I sat in a Jerusalem café with Z, a comparative literature student, who told me that just …