what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Raymond Williams - a voice never stilled

Raymond Williams is a name to conjure with – at least for a Brit of my generation. In 1959 he produced a book “Culture and Society” whose significance as I was starting university I was vaguely aware of but whose very “worthiness” disinclined me actually to read. My loss you might say from glancing at its last chapter and footnotes

His name was linked at the time to that of Richard Hoggart who – 2 years earlier – had published Uses of Literacy but, more importantly for my developing politicisation, was that he was part of the group of intellectuals which was then establishing the New Left Review journal and the author of the scintillating Mayday Manifesto 1967/68

Geoff Dyer’s introduction to the reissued “Politics and Letters” tells us why we should be reading Williams these days – and Culture and Society – then and now helps us understand the significance of that first book. I needed little encouragement since I recently got hold of a new version of his Keywords which I had first read in the late 70s….and which was perhaps an unconscious exemplar for my “Just Words - a glossary and bibliography for the fight against the pretensions and perversities of power”. I was glad to see that his book has become an inspiration for a new university project and website  

My morning’s surfing unearthed quite a few inspiring books about the man who died at the height of his powers - at the age of 66 -
Raymond Williams – a biography by Alan O’Connor
- "Border Country – Raymond Williams in adult education 1946-1961". A collection of his early writings....
I was particularly taken with the second book – since it is a very sensitive treatment of his works written by a Glasgow University Professor of Sociology I encountered all too briefly. Here he (Elridge) is reminiscing about the sociologists he knew......he's one of the old guard .......when he talks about Weber, you feel he actually knew him!!!!

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