A comprehensive introduction to the work of one of the outstanding intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Raymond Williams is a towering presence in cultural studies, most importantly as the founder of the apporach that has come to be known as “cultural materialism.” Yet Williams’s method was always open-ended and fluid, and this volume collects together his most significant work from over a twenty-year peiod in which he wrestled with the concepts of materiualism and culture and their interrelationship. Aside from his more directly theoretical texts, however, case-studies of theatrical naturalism, the Bloomsbury group, advertising, science fiction, and the Welsh novel are also included as illustrations of the method at work. Finally, Williams’s identity as an active socialist, rather than simply an academic, is captured by two unambiguously political pieces on the past, present and future of Marxism.
“Williams is the Western thinker who, along with Antonio Gramsci, has done most to enlarge our understanding of the political complexities of culture.” — Village Voice
“The left’s foremost cultural historian and critic… an acute and perceptive political commentator.” — Comment
Raymond Williams was born in 1921 in the Welsh border village of Pandy. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after the war taught for many years as an adult education tutor. In 1961 he became a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and University Lecturer in English. He was Professor of Drama at Cambridge from 1974 until his retirement in 1983. Raymond Williams died in January 1988. His many books include Culture and Society (1958), The Long Revolution (1961), Modern Tragedy (1966), The Country and the City (1973), Marxism and Literature (1977), Politics and Letters (1979), Resources of Hope (1989), Towards 2000 (1983),The Politics of Modernism and several novels