Author's Final Manuscript
history of the left, British history, British intellectuals, fathers and father figures
This essay explores the complex role of fathers and father figures in the life and writings of Raymond Williams. First, as Williams later acknowledged, the moving portrait of Harry Price, the father in Border Country, embodied a partial but revealing autobiographical truth. Second, what Williams later called ‘the two figures of the father’ also applied to his notion of community, the ‘social father’ that helped shape his vision of a socialist future. Third, F. R. Leavis influenced Williams and other scholarship boys as something of a ‘cultural father’ whose legacy underscored some tensions and ambiguities of Williams' chosen profession. Finally, Williams himself became a father figure to the Left, whose contested inheritance often mirrored the conflicting portraits of the father in Williams' writings.
LeMahieu, D. L. “Lost Fathers: Raymond Williams and the Signal Box and Pandy.” Life Writing 11, no. 1 (2014): 69-83. Post-print version.