Sunday, May 04, 2008
Hall, Stuart. "The Life of Raymond Williams." NEW STATESMAN February 21, 2008.
(First published February 5, 1988.) I first met him in Oxford in the mid-1950s when a number of us, looking for a way out of the impasse of the elitism of F. R. Leavis’s reading of English literary traditions, were given by him, and read with mounting excitement, the early chapters of what was to become Culture and Society. Thereafter, our paths continually crossed. He became a contributor to and a key figure in the early New Left. In 1966, he took the lead in drafting the May Day Manifesto, an attempt to formulate a socialist alternative to Harold Wilson’s grimly technocratic vision. Intellectually, his work dominated the development of cultural studies. He was a founder member of the Socialist Society. I never had the privilege of being taught by him, but he was the most formative intellectual influence on my life. I often had the uncanny feeling that we had stumbled unawares on to the same line of thinking — only he had given it, already, so lucid and compelling a formulation. However, it is through his work and writing that he influenced several generations across the world, and it is by this that future generations will measure him. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.newstatesman.com/200802210055.