Division and connection : Raymond Williams and the literature of displacement

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McLaren, John (1989) Division and connection : Raymond Williams and the literature of displacement. Southern review (Baton Rouge), 22 (2). pp. 97-103. ISSN 0038-4534


Contains a critical essay on Raymond Williams and his work. Williams worked constantly to break down social boundaries, both by insisting on the truth and value of common experience, and on the necessity for an education which would empower common people to control their own experience. He continued to give a voice to the colonised classes and peoples resisting any notion of elite. Despite the great similarities between their careers, it has been said that Williams spent his life trying to escape from the shadow of F. R. Leavis, resulting in Williams conceiving his work as a contest to F. R. Leavis's position. Yet, Williams’s work is grounded in two radical qualities that he took from F. R. Leavis’s teaching. In Modern Tragedy (London, 1966) he extends Leavis's awareness of the relationship of literature to the whole life of the community by showing how the nature of society determines the way in which we perceive tragedy itself. In The English Novel (London, 1970) and The City and the Country (London, 1973) he examines Leavis's perception of the disintegration of modern life. But whereas Leavis considered this disintegration a necessary consequence of industrialism and urbanization, Williams from the outset recognized that these new conditions could be as much liberating as confining.

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/17218
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 2005 Literary Studies
Current > Collections > McLaren Papers
Keywords literary criticism, English literature, social criticism, novels, MCLAREN-BOXB14-DOC1
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