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The earliest ideas on culture, Mr. Williams claims, developed in opposition to the laissez-faire society of the political economists. As the ideas on culture took shape, on the one hand, they became identified with a 'whole way of life.' On the other hand... culture became a court of appeals where real values could be determined. Culture, thus separated from the whole society, was associated with the idea of perfection through the study of the arts... Mr. Williams contrasts the ideas of ' culture as art' and 'culture as a whole way of life,' and commends the latter... the book should definitely be read by all those interested in English intellectual history.(M. S. Wilkins Political Science Quarterly)
CULTURE AND SOCIETY is worth a library of literary and political tracts in that it digs into the ideological layers that envelop modern politics. Written from an independent Left standpoint, this critical history of the concept of culture in England from 1780 to 1950 is exactly to the point of contemporary discussions of value.(Harold Rosenberg)
One of the century's most distinguished public intellectuals, Raymond Williams (1921-1988) helped to create and form the conceptual space of contemporary literary & cultural studies.