Raymond Williams

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Raymond Williams At Saffron Walden

Raymond Henry Williams (31 August 192126 January 1988) was a highly influential Welsh socialist academic, novelist and critic. He was Professor of Drama at the University of Cambridge (1974–1983).


  • If from poetry we expect a succession of signals for the release of miscellaneous private emotion we are likely to find Tears, Idle Tears valuable.
    • Reading and Criticism (1950)
  • We all like to think of ourselves as a standard, and I can see that it is genuinely difficult for the English middle class to suppose that the working class is not desperately anxious to become just like itself. I am afraid this must be unlearned.
    • Culture and Society (1958)
  • Every aspect of personal life is radically affected by the quality of general life, and yet the general life is seen at its most important in completely personal terms.
    • Realism and the Contemporary Novel (1961): The Long Revolution
  • The gap between our feelings and our social observation is dangerously wide.
    • Realism and the Contemporary Novel (1961): The Long Revolution
  • Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.
    • Keywords (1983)
  • To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.
    • Resources of Hope (published posthumously in 1989), p. 118
  • It is as if a really secure nationalism, already in possession of its nation-state, can fail to see itself as 'nationalist' at all. Its own distinctive bonding is perceived as natural and obvious by contrast with the mere projections of any nationalism which is still in active progress and thus incomplete. At this point radicals and minority nationalists emphasize the artificialities of the settled 'common sense' nation-state and to their own satisfaction shoot them to pieces from history and from social theory.
    • Who Speaks For Wales?: Nation, Culture, Identity (published posthumously in 2003), p. 193
  • Real independence is a time of new and active creation: people sure enough of themselves to discard their baggage; knowing the past is past, as shaping history, but with a new confident sense of the present and the future, where the decisive meanings and values will be made.
    • (1975)

Quotes about Raymond Williams[edit]

  • The most advanced socialist thought in England is Raymond Williams’ superbly intricate and persuasive work... Any English Marxism will have to measure itself against this landmark in our social thought.

External links[edit]

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