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A ground-breaking work exploring how culture developed in the West. Relevant and readable more than fifty years after its first publication

Acknowledged as a masterpiece of materialist criticism, this book delves into the complex ways economic reality shapes the imagination. Surveying two hundred years of history and English literature – from George Eliot to George Orwell – Williams provides insights into the social and economic forces that have shaped British culture and society. Provocative and revolutionary in its day, this work overturned conventional thinking about the development of a common British mentality.


He was the foremost political thinker of his generation in Britain who in his most formidable books, Culture And Society, The Long Revolution and The Country And The Town, redrew the map of our cultural history, and elsewhere made heroic interventions in the main political debates of his time


For those who read English in the '60s, it was common to revere Williams as both a rock of integrity and a pathfinder for new ways of seeing culture, communication, class and democracy


Brave, intelligent, and disciplined...a most impressive work

C. P. Snow

Penetrating, lucid, objective, and also honestly engaged...the best reasoned plea that I have read for a common culture

Angus Wilson

Brilliantly intelligent...a good critic and also an original thinker

Stuart Hampshire

Of quite radical importance...mature seriousness and unflagging candour...magnificent

Frank Kermode

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    October 16, 2017

    Vintage Classics

    496 pages

    RRP $22.99

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Also by Raymond Williams

People Of The Black Mountains Vol.I
People Of The Black Mountains Vol.Ii
The Country And The City
The English Novel From Dickens To Lawrence
What I Came To Say
Second Generation
Modern Tragedy
Drama From Ibsen To Brecht


The Crucible
Medea And Other Plays
Jane Eyre
Nineteen Eighty Four
Pride And Prejudice
The Little Prince: Popular Penguins
The Great Gatsby
Wide Sargasso Sea
A Tale Of Two Cities
The Prose Factory
The Rise Of The Novel
How to be Well Read
Late Essays
Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me
Being There
And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?
On Passion
On Doubt