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This book extends the theme of Raymond Williams's earlier work in literary and cultural analysis. He analyses previous contributions to a Marxist theory of literature from Marx himself to Lukacs, Althusser, and Goldmann, and develops his own approach by outlining a theory of 'cultural materialism' which integrates Marxist theories of language with Marxist theories of literature. Williams moves from a review of the growth of the concepts of literature and idealogy to a redefinition of 'determinism' and 'hegemony'. His incisive discussion of the 'social material process' of cultural activity culminates in a re-examination of the problems of alignment and commitment and of the creative practice in individual authors and wider social groups.
Raymond Williams was formerly Professor of Drama and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. His publications include Culture and Society, Communications, The Country and The City, and Keywords.