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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


Picnic At Hanging Rock
A Doll's House And Other Plays
Nineteen Eighty Four
The Crucible
Great Expectations
The Great Gatsby
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Little Prince: Popular Penguins
Crime and Punishment
The Odyssey
Wide Sargasso Sea
Anna Karenina (Vintage Classic Russians Series)
Wuthering Heights
Great Ideas
Metamorphosis: Popular Penguins