Raymond William’s ‘Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society’
Dr Ian Jasper | Open Lecture Series 2021 | Lecture 2 - April 27th 2021
The motif ‘culture is ordinary’ played a huge part in the development of Raymond Williams’ life work. His examinations of the interplay of ‘ordinary’ and ‘higher’ culture, his studies of ‘media’, his political activity, and his determination to remain culturally linked to his boyhood home of Pandy are themes around which his extraordinary output evolved. Within the wealth of his work the book ‘Keywords’ occupies a special place. Williams believed that by tracing the historical development of key words in the English language it was possible to examine the rifts in the cultural worlds in which they were embedded. The result is much more than an etymological treatise, it is a revelation of the inner life of the words we use. The intention of this lecture is to reveal how this inner life of the lexicon also reveals to us the inner worlds of the people whose words they are.
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