In his life, Raymond Williams played many parts: child of the Black Mountains, inspirational adult lecturer, Cambridge professor, folk hero and guru of the left. After his death, he has remained a symbolic figure and his classic works, Culture and Society, The Long Revolution, The Country and the City continue to inspire new generations all over the world.
In this first major biography, Fred Inglis has spoken to those who knew this complex and charismatic man at every stage of his life, from his boyhood in the Welsh border country to his brief years of retirement. Through their voices and his own passionate stories and at times combative engagement with his subject, he tells of a story of a life not just for its time but for our own. After Thatcher and Reagan and the Cold War, Williams still has much to teach us about the nature of a good and just society and about the constant struggle to attain it.
`Williams had an enormous personal following while he was alive and this book does a great deal to illuminate his life and activities.' - British Society of Aesthetics
`... a useful introduction to the ideas which exercised the Welsh-man and made him one of the leading figures on the British Left, relating them to the facts of his life which have never hitherto been explored.' - Cardiff Western Mail
`Inglis's genial and absorbing book suggests that the experience ...' - The Times
'warm, lively, well-informed narrative.' - Times Literary Supplement
`Inglis has to write a biography because he believes that Williams celebrated "civic virtues" in "his life, more than his books". In this commitment are the sadness and honesty which characterise this book. With what Inlgis calls the "going down" of the "big stories" that socialist have made of history, he must turn to the "moral example" of and indivdual life. Biography must be our guide.' - Guardian
`But this is an honest, if strangely tormented, biography.' - Observer
'... he has done an energetic and entertaining job of telling his downbeat tale; he is also a cogent judge of Williams' large oeuvre.' - The Spectator
'... it presents a vivid portrait of the man. The book is suffused with the affection and respect the author has for his subjects.' - Cardiff Western Mail
'a loving, thoroughly researched book... shrewd, passionately wrought biography.' - Terry Eagleton