Australian Left Review

Article Title

The Importance of Raymond Williams


Graham Rowlands


THIS ARTICLE selects Williams’ theoretical preceptions from The Long Revolution and his main theme of culture and social criticism from Culture and Society. It is not implied that these aspects are Williams’ only or most important views; but that in the following ways they are of importance. Williams develops a method of treating social man that does not run the risks involved in quantification when quantification becomes an end in itself. He stresses the importance of communications, in particular, along with politics, and economics. He considers the relation between “high” culture and social criticism in the works of a wide range of writers from 1780 to 1950. His analysis of the role of the artist in the Romantic period is viewed as an example of his interdisciplinary interests which challenge the highly specialized and educationally crippling nature of most of Australian academic life, particularly its English Departments. Williams’ own interests extend far beyond English Departments but are, nevertheless, based in them.