Raymond Williams prolific output is increasingly recognised as the most influential body of work on literary and cultural studies in the past fifty years. This book provides the most comprehensive study to date of the theoretical and historical context of Williams thinking on literature, politics and culture. John Higgins traces Williams intellectual trajectory from its beginnings in the literary criticism of the 1950s, across the development of a New Left cultural politics, to its culmination in the theory and practice of Cultural materialism. Higgins vigorously challenges many of the received ideas concerning Williams work, and particularly those concerning the distinctive blending of Marxism with literary studies in his work. In so doing he offers a significant challenge and correction to many of the current representations of William's thought, and a powerful argument for renewed engagement with it.
John Higgins is Senior Lecturer in English and a Convenor of the Theory of Literature Programme at the University of Cape Town. He is the founding editor of the journal Pretexts: Studies in Writing and Culture.