Culture and Materialism

A comprehensive introduction to the work of one of the outstanding intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Raymond Williams is a towering presence in cultural studies, most importantly as the founder of the approach that has come to be known as “cultural materialism.” Yet Williams’s method was always open-ended and fluid, and this volume collects together his most significant work from over a twenty-year period in which he wrestled with the concepts of materialism and culture and their interrelationship. Aside from his more directly theoretical texts, however, case-studies of theatrical naturalism, the Bloomsbury group, advertising, science fiction, and the Welsh novel are also included as illustrations of the method at work. Finally, Williams’s identity as an active socialist, rather than simply an academic, is captured by two unambiguously political pieces on the past, present and future of Marxism.


  • “The left's foremost cultural historian and critic... an acute and perceptive political commentator.”
  • “Williams is the Western thinker who, along with Antonio Gramsci, has done most to enlarge our understanding of the political complexities of culture.”


  • Slavoj Žižek, Daniel Trilling and 300 academics in support of student protesters

    Slavoj Žižek commented in support of the wing of the tuition fees protest that stormed Tory HQ in 'Violence Revisited,' his recent lecture at Birkbeck College: 

    People saying you could have delivered the same message without violence. F*ck them! Of course you can deliver the message. But nobody would hear the message. This is what they like, that 100 people gather and write a message and then you don’t even get the bottom note in the day's paper … You have to break some windows to get the message through.

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Other books by Raymond Williams