Posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 18, 2006
In Reply to: The Communist Manifesto posted by RRC on July 18, 2006
: : The phrase is "All that's solid melts in air."
: : My brother has asked me to determine its origin. Google has no references.
: : Somebody wrote it in a letter to him, noting that it was from Karl Marx ("of course").
: : My brother had a feeling it was from Shakespeare / "The Tempest", but looked and did not immediately find it. Nor could he find in what context Marx said it - if he did.
: : Can anyone help us sort this out? Thanks!
: "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind" - Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto
Your brother was almost certainly thinking of Prospero's speech in the last act of The Tempest
which goes "These our actors, / As I foretold you, were all spirits, and/ Are melted into air, into thin air". So he was pretty close, but no cigar.
- BTW, this quote from The Tempest is the origin of the phrase "thin air".