Williams, Raymond


Williams, Raymond
   b. 1921, Wales; d. 1988, Cambridge
   Literary critic
   The son of a Welsh miner, Raymond Williams became a Cambridge professor, seminal British cultural historian and a leading Marxist (literary) critic, as well as a media commentator as widely regarded as E.P.Thompson, Richard Hoggart or Stuart Hall. Key early works were the enormously influential pair of books Culture and Society 17801950 (1958) and The Long Revolution (1961). Williams argued for a materialist reading of the production of culture, the inception of the social studies of communication, and the recognition of mass popular culture’s usurpation of (the value placed on) high art. Other notable books were The Country and the City (1973) and Keywords (1976), an extensive glossary of the main terms of the new cultural studies. Later work, pervaded by a stoical pessimism about Britain’s social and economic decline, ranged over the novel, drama, television, film and left-wing politics.
   PETER CHILDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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