Raymond Williams and Working-Class Writing

On the Raymond Williams Society blog for August we have an extract from the Introduction to this year’s Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism. It’s a special issue on ‘Working-Class Writing’ and features essays by Katie Beswick, Susie Panesar, Matti Ron, Raymond Williams, and Jack Windle as well as interviews with John Goodridge and Lynsey Hanley. In the preview below, co-editors Phil O’Brien and Nicola Wilson set up the issue’s focus by examining Williams’s writing on class and the novel. The full essay-length Introduction also discusses Wales and Welsh industrial fiction, Marxism, Buchi Emecheta, Isabel Waidner, and the contemporary debates around working-class writing and publishing. To make sure you receive your copy of Key Words, published in the autumn, join the society here.

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PODCAST: ‘Education and Social Democracy’ – a talk by Raymond Williams

The latest podcast of lectures by Raymond Williams has now been released. This month’s is an unpublished lecture from 1978 in which Williams discusses – as part of a talk titled ‘Education and Social Democracy’ – working-class and adult education alongside the Labour Party, work, and humanism. 

Phil O’Brien writes…

This latest recording captures what I want the Raymond Williams Recordings project to do: make available, for free, a rich archive of unheard material, some of which will be familiar from its published form, some of which is being heard for the first time in more than four decades.

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PODCAST: ‘The Welsh Industrial Novel’ – a lecture by Raymond Williams

This month on the Raymond Williams Society blog we continue with our coverage of a new project to digitise recordings of lectures by Raymond Williams.

Phil O’Brien writes…

The second instalment of the ‘Raymond Williams Tapes’ podcast is a recording of Williams delivering a 1977 lecture in Aberystwyth on ‘The Welsh Industrial Novel’.  It is better known from the version given as the inaugural Gwyn Jones Lecture in 1978, first published by University College Cardiff Press a year later and collected in Culture and Materialism (1980). The recording below captures – along with the humour in some of Williams’s observations – an attempt to map out the contours of what were memorably labelled industrial novels in Culture and Society (1958).

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PODCAST: Raymond Williams reading ‘You’re A Marxist, Aren’t You?’

The Raymond Williams Society blog for May features the first in a monthly series of podcasts from a new project on some recently discovered Williams recordings.

Phil O’Brien writes…

As I announced on the blog in February, I’m working on a project to digitise and make available for the first time a collection of previously unpublished recordings of Raymond Williams lectures. The first to be released is a tape from 1975 of Williams reading ‘You’re A Marxist, Aren’t You?’.

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The Border Country of Class: Lynsey Hanley and Raymond Williams

On the blog for April we have an interview with writer Lynsey Hanley. The author of two books on class and working-class life, Lynsey was also involved in the 2009 re-issue of Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy. What follows is an edited extract from an in-depth interview, conducted by Phil O’Brien in Liverpool back in January, which appears in the forthcoming issue of Key Words. This year’s journal, co-edited by Phil and Nicola Wilson, is on working-class writing; it will include, amongst a range of articles covering the 1930s to the twenty-first century, an unpublished essay by Williams on the working-class novel after 1945. To receive your copy this autumn, please subscribe to the Raymond Williams Society.

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Radical Resources: Sheila Rowbotham on Raymond Williams

On the Raymond Williams Society blog for March we have a review by Sheila Rowbotham of Williams’s 1983 book Towards 2000. Originally titled ‘Picking up the Pieces’, it first appeared in New Socialist in October 1985. Williams was on the advisory board of the defunct Labour Party magazine and contributed such essays as ‘Mining the Meaning: Key Words in the Miners’ Strike’ and ‘Walking Backwards into the Future (both later featuring in the 1989 collection Resources of Hope). Here Sheila discusses the importance of Towards 2000 at a time of demoralisation and defeat for the Left in 1980s Britain.

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Popular Culture in Thatcher’s Britain: Didier Eribon interviews Raymond Williams

We end 2019 on the Raymond Williams Society blog with a translation of an interview Williams gave to Didier Eribon in 1980. This is the first time it’s been published in English after first appearing in Libération as part of a series of interviews with leading figures of the New Left, including Stuart Hall and E. P. Thompson. It’s a wonderful interview, with Williams discussing theories of culture, mass communication, the New Left, cultural studies, the sixties, dominant, residual, and emergent culture, the New Right, the working class, and cultural resistance to Thatcherism. Many thanks to Edward Lee-Six for translating from the French and to Didier for granting permission for its use by the society.

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Countercultural Legacies in Contemporary Left Imaginaries – Raymond Williams Society Annual Lecture

On the blog for November we have two short pieces by David Wilkinson to preview his annual Raymond Williams Society lecture on Wednesday 20th November in Manchester. Below is an abstract to the talk, which is titled ‘”The Dropouts Are Anticipating Future Economic Policy”: Work, Class, and Countercultural Legacies’, as well as a reflection on what the work of Raymond Williams means in the twenty-first century. Full details can be found here. It starts at 5pm and will be followed by the launch of this year’s Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism.

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