This volume provides a unique insight into the formative influence of one of the century's most distinguished public intellectuals, Raymond Williams (1921-1988). Williams' concern with the dynamics of all forms of writing transformed the ways in which we read the world and its texts and helped to create and form the conceptual space of contemporary literary and cultural studies.This carefully-structured book presents a survey of the whole body of Williams' work. It provides new readers with the opportunity to explore his ideas in depth while giving existing readers a fresh perspective by viewing his works historically.Detailed introductions place Williams' work in the broader national and international context of literary and cultural theory. The selections which follow balance the familiar with the unfamiliar, and include extracts from key works such as Culture and Society, The Long Revolution, Modern Tragedy, Orwell, Marxism and Literature and The Politics of Modernism, as well as equally powerful but less known texts like 'Film and the Dramatic Tradition' and seminal essays such as 'Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory' and 'The Bloomsbury Fraction'.
The Raymond Williams Reader is essential reading for all those interested in contemporary literary theory and cultural studies.
John Higgins is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of
Raymond Williams: Literature, Marxism and Cultural Materialism (1999, winner of the University of Cape Town Book Award 2000) and Founding Editor of the South African Journal,
Pretexts: Literary and Cultural Studies.