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Raymond Williams and European Marxism: Lukacs, Sartre, Gramsci / Daniel, R. Gerke

DOI (Published version): 10.23889/Suthesis.46244

Abstract

The Western Marxist tradition from Lukacs to Colletti is usually considered a continentalEuropean one, with no major British representative. This thesis presents the Welsh culturalcritic and novelist Raymond Williams (1921-1988) as a critical Anglophone participant inthat tradition. The development...

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Published: 2018
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa46244
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Abstract: The Western Marxist tradition from Lukacs to Colletti is usually considered a continentalEuropean one, with no major British representative. This thesis presents the Welsh culturalcritic and novelist Raymond Williams (1921-1988) as a critical Anglophone participant inthat tradition. The development of Williams’s cultural materialism, far from being theproduct of a rigid ‘British’ empiricism, was centrally influenced by the ideas of WesternMarxist thinkers. At the core of this influence, and of the ‘European’ rationalist element inWilliams’s work, is the concept of ‘totality’, an abiding concern with which Williams shareswith the Western Marxists. The three European Marxists to whom Williams’s intellectualdevelopment is most indebted are those whom he described, in 1972, as ‘Marxism’salternative tradition’: Georg Lukacs (1885-1971), Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) and AntonioGramsci (1891-1937). The work of these thinkers, as it slowly appears in English, confirmsWilliams’s insistence on ‘total’ analysis and permits him to generate a Marxism capable ofreconciling subjective experience with the complex materiality of social relations. I read thetheoretical apparatus which results from these transnational interactions as a literary and aphilosophical realism committed both to the aesthetic representation of the social totality andto the interaction of experience with objective reality. The form of political praxis engenderedby these European influences is a ‘revolutionary culturalism’ in which the working-classattains hegemony by realising its experience and interests in a concrete culture.
Item Description: A selection of third party content is redacted or is partially redacted from this thesis.
Keywords: English Literature, Philosophy, Critical and Cultural Theory, Politics, Marxism, British New Left, Western Marxism, European Theatre, Existentialism, Continental Philosophy, Realism, Modernism, Transnationalism, Raymond Williams, Georg Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Antonio Gramsci
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences