Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism

Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism

Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism

Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism

Excerpt

Raymond Williams, who died on 26 January 1988, was the most authoritative, consistent and original socialist thinker in the English- speaking world. The loss to the British Left of a spokesman at the height of his powers remains deeply felt. Tributes to Williams appeared in many newspapers and periodicals, testifying to a widespread sense that the established culture had lost its most acute critic. Williams approached literature, cultural studies, communications and adult education in such radically new ways that he revolutionized their study and practice. While this cultural work was linked to his conception of a democratic 'long revolution', its validity and importance were nevertheless recognized by many who had no prior commitment to his anti- capitalist politics. Similarly Williams's drama and novels explore profoundly political themes but, like all his writing, are couched in a language far removed from received political discourse. Part of the value of Williams's work to the Left is that it does not belong to the Left alone.

Yet for a full understanding of Williams's work it is essential to attend to its political meanings. An understanding of, and commitment to, a radically transformed social order were integral to his vision and . . .

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