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Raymond Williams: Literature, Marxism and Cultural Materialism (Critics of the Twentieth Century) [Hardcover]

John Higgins

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Price: 69.73 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Mar 1999 0415023440 978-0415023443
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 development
* the related growth of a New Left cultural politics
* the origins of the theory and practice of cultural materialism.
Raymond Williams is an astonishing achievement and will challenge many received ideas about Williams' work.


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Review

"I think that Higgins's account of William's thought has no parallel in the literature. It is likely to be the authoritative study for some time."-Dennis Dworkin, Left History, Vol. 8.1 "The first detailed, full-length examination of the whole body of Raymond Williams' work, admirably exhaustive, well-researched and lucidly written."-Terry Eagleton, Oxford University

About the Author

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Raymond William's first critical writings - from, for example, the essays and reviews in Politics and Letters (1947-8) to Preface to Film (1954) - have been powerfully characterised as 'left-Leavisite'. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful incisive book about a delightful, complex man 19 Mar 2000
By Martin Good - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I couldn't put it down. For anyone who has been touched by the work that Williams did, this is a must. Higgins takes us on a fascinating intellectual journey with Williams, painstakingly recreating the changing contexts in which Williams' ideas were formed, and giving us the tools to see how they emerged from the debates of the time, from a long struggle between socialism and individualism, which he never really resolved.
One of the problems you have with Williams as a non-academic is that he didn't write simply or clearly - he's hard work. Higgins recreates the great Williams arguments that liberated us from the straightjacket of Leavisite literary criticism, where an elite of critics determined what the "canon of literature" was, and dismissed everything that wasn't in that. The idea of all embracing culture, that culture and literature potentially includes everything that anyone writes - fantastic stuff, and very relevant today in the UK, where some of this appalling stuffiness is returning to orthodoxy with uncomfortable speed.
And in adult education , especially adult literacy, I can see that we owe him so much. I sometimes wonder if the way that the literary establishment excluded ordinary people from taking part has anything to do with the extraordinarily widespread problem in adult literacy - that most of us hate writing.
A must for anyone with a socialist perspective on education.
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