Raymond Williams: a Warrior's Tale

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9781905762996: Raymond Williams: a Warrior's Tale
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"Raymond Williams: A Warriors Tale" is a book much in keeping with its subject. Covering the first forty years the book weaves together its subject's life with the times in which he lived. Dai Smith makes the case that the childhood in working class Wales suffering the prolonged effects of 1926, the horrors of war as a front line soldier and the demanding years teaching adult classes in south east England, were formative for the politics, intellect and person that came later. This history is concentrated into the first half of the book, and is the result of prolonged research by Dai Smith during which were recovered people and events, much of which will be little known to many.The later chapters are a interloculum between biographer and their subject's writings and it is these which clearly excite Dai Smith's intentions. For here is an extraordinary find, a series of novels, began, put aside, returned to, gutted, and in important cases finished. It is the story of how a form was developed for which existing writing proved inadequate templates. What, many years later, Raymond Williams would publicly acknowledge as, the Welsh Industrial Novel, had then few examples known outside their own localities: Gwyn Jones, "Times Like These" (1936), Lewis Jones, "Cwmardy" (1937) and "We Live" (1939), Jack Jones "Rhondda Roundabout" (1934) and later "The Dark Philosophers" (1946) and "All Things Betray Thee" (1949) by Gwyn Thomas.In these the peculiar working class experience of demographic upheaval, industrialisation and building of community, had been variously explored. What "A Warriors Tale" brings to us is how Raymond Williams made these experiences his own in the years of writing that would eventually become Border Country. The research for this biography though goes well beyond discovery of the drafts of novels from after the war. For the early chapters there is a social history of south east Wales, the tracing of hitherto little known family relationships and the journey

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Raymond Williams (1921-1988) was the most influential socialist writer and thinker in post-war Britain. From 1961, with the publication of The Long Revolution, his reputation was bound up with the theory and practice of Culture, as itself a social dynamic. However, Williams always considered that his critical and imaginative work formed an integral whole and that their complementary pattern was crucial to his personal intent and wider purpose. In particular, for him the appearance of the pathbreaking Culture and Society in 1958 and of his revelatory first novel Border Country in 1960 were twinned events. Now, for the first time, making full use of Williams s private and unpublished papers and by placing him in a wide social and cultural landscape, Dai Smith, in this highly original and riveting biographical study, uncovers how the life to 1961 is indeed an explanation of Raymond Williams s immense and connected creative and intellectual achievement.

Review:

'Carrying an impressive deal of intensive research lightly... the portraiture throughout is graphic, richly detailed and subtly shaded in these packed and lucidly written pages' --New Welsh Review

'It is a remarkable piece of work and will henceforth be essential to the understanding of the making of Raymond Williams.' --The Guardian(Book of the Week)

Becomes at once the authoritative account. Smith has done all we can ask the historian as biographer to do. Stefan Collini, London Review of Books --London Review of Books

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Smith, Dai
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Book Description Cardigan: Parthian, 2008, 2008. , xvii, 514pp., PAPERBACK, very good, slightly bruised along top edge of cover "Raymond Williams was the most influential socialist writer and thinker in post-war Britain, From 1961, with the publication of The Long Revolution, his reputation was bound up with the theory and practice of Culture, as itself a social dynamic. However, Williams always considered that his critical and imaginative work formed an integral whole and that their complementary pattern was crucial to his personal intent and wider purpose. In particular for him the appearance of the pathbreaking Culture and Society in 1958 and of his revelatory first novel Border Country in 1960 were twinned events. Now, for the first time, making full use of Williams' private and unpublished papers and by placing him in a wide social and cultural landscape, Dai Smith, in this highly original and riveting biographical study, uncovers how the life to 1961 is indeed an explanation of Raymond Williams' immense and connected creative and intellectual achievement.". ISBN 9781905762996. Seller Inventory # 83381

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