A groundbreaking work of social, literary and intellectual history by the godfather of the ‘New Left’
Taking inspiration from classic authors from Jane Austen to Thomas Hardy, Williams shines a light on our society’s changing views of the rural and industrial landscapes in which we work and live.
Our collective notion of the city and country is irresistibly powerful. The city as the seat of enlightenment, sophistication, power and greed is in profound contrast with an innocent, peaceful, backward countryside. Examining literature since the sixteenth century, Williams traces the development of our conceptions of these two traditional poles of life. His groundbreaking study casts the country and city as central symbols for the social and economic changes associated with capitalist development.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY TRISTRAM HUNT
“While written with the energy of political engagement, it is a critically generous book... Even where you would read something differently, there is space to disagree ”
John Mullan, Guardian
“His complex character, indeed his whole life, was held together by two qualities - scholarship and political conviction - which made him a major influence on three decades of political thought”
“I went back to my own edition of The Country and the City... Certain books are held dear because they are also psychic landmarks revealing where and how they helped us come into consciousness. Inevitably, our perception of the world continues to be informed by such texts long after the precise details of their contents have been forgotten.”
Geoff Dyer, New Statesman
“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 City, redrew the map of our cultural history, and elsewhere made heroic interventions in the main political debates of his time”
“The first thing that struck me about this book when I read it as an undergraduate was the personable charm of the narrator. Embarking on a topic which could hardly be broader or grander: the study of how literature has described the world; he starts with his own country, with his own city. His emotion about his birthplace his sense of belonging, is so powerful, that the book reads at times like an autobiography, like a love-letter to the country of his childhood”
Philippa Gregory, Independent
“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”
“He shows us the language and imagery, the beliefs and developed ideas, the hidden assumptions and class biases, and the 'structures of feeling' of literally hundreds of writers, major and minor, poets and pamphleteers, geniuses and hacks. . . . His erudition is immense”
“The re-issue of The Country and the City by Raymond Williams is welcome as a contribution to the thinking of a new generation. Well-received at the time, it now has classic status as a study in the contrasts that are known without often receiving the depth of consideration Williams gives them”